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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1992;7(12):1199-206.

Haemodynamic changes and physical performance at comparative levels of haemoglobin after long-term treatment with recombinant erythropoietin.

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  • 1Renal Unit, Austin Hospital, West Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.


Physical performance and haemodynamic parameters at rest and with exercise were compared in a prospective, cross-over fashion in 12 anaemic haemodialysis patients (Hb 6.4 +/- 0.5, mean +/- SEM) at two levels of haemoglobin (Hb 9 and 12 g/dl) before and after long-term treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo). Patients were divided into two groups and measurements made prior to treatment, upon reaching, and after 4 months at the first target Hb (9 g/dl group A, 12 g/dl group B), and after 4 months at the alternative target Hb. Tests included an exercise radionuclide ventriculogram, Doppler echocardiogram, and respiratory function exercise test. Compared to pretreatment, there was a significant reduction in resting pulse rate (P < 0.001), and in pulse rate (P < 0.001) and arterial lactate (P < 0.01) concentrations at specified levels of exercise. Work capacity improved 60% (P < 0.001), and left ventricular mass fell by 26% (P < 0.001). Although cardiac output (CO) during and after exercise was reduced (P < 0.05), resting CO, cardiac index, stroke volume and ejection fraction (rest and exercise) were not significantly altered. There appeared little benefit in having the higher target Hb: no significant difference could be found between target levels for almost any measure. In addition, despite marked improvement from pretreatment levels, performance parameters were still below those of non-uraemic age-matched controls. These results demonstrate the beneficial but incomplete effect of rHuEpo on resting and exercise-related factors, and suggest that most improvement is achieved with modest increments in haemoglobin.

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