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Ren Fail. 1995 Nov;17(6):705-14.

Recombinant human erythropoietin treatment of anemia in renal transplant patients.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology University Clinical Center Beograd, Yugoslavia.


The rHuEpo effect on anemia in eight renal transplant patients (group A) with severe anemia (Hb 6.0-7.5 g/dL) and chronic graft failure (CGF) (sCr 281-794 mumol/L) was compared to the rHuEpo effect on anemia in predialysis (20 patients-group B) and hemodialysis patients (17 patients-group C) in order to examine the rHuEpo effect on anemia and graft failure progression, and to find out whether the response to therapy in these three patient groups differed. Although renal function impairment was similar in patients from group A and B, anemia was more severe in patients from group A. Serum immunoreactive erythropoietin levels were within normal limits for nonanemic persons, that is, inadequate for the level of anemia in all patients before therapy. Maintenance immunosuppression given after renal transplantation consisted of cyclosporine, azathioprine, and prednisone in standard doses. The startig rHuEpo dose of 150 U/kg/wk increased by 25 U/kg if the target Hb of 10.0 g/dL was not achieved at the end of a 4-week period. When target Hb was achieved, the rHuEpo dose was regularly adjusted to maintain Hb of 10.0 g/dL. Most patients from group A and group C were polytransfused before rHuEpo therapy and consequently with iron overload so that only some patients from these groups and all predialysis patients needed iron supplementation given orally. Anemia improved in all patients with 2 to 10 weeks of treatment. Mean rHuEpo doses for the first 2 months were similar in three studied groups, but the patients with the lowest initial hemoglobin values responded better to rHuEpo therapy. The rate of Hb increase during the initial phase of therapy was significantly higher in patients from group A and B comparing to patients from group C, indicating the importance of residual renal function for rHuEpo effect on anemia. Progression of CGF expressed by the slope of l/sCr vs. time did not change in either patients from group A or in predialysis patients. It could be concluded that rHuEpo therapy improved anemia in transplant patients as in predialysis and hemodialysis patients. Anemia improvement by rHuEpo did not accelerate the progression of graft function.

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