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Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 May;37(5):E36.

Subcutaneous erythropoietin results in lower dose and equivalent hematocrit levels among adult hemodialysis patients: Results from the 1998 End-Stage Renal Disease Core Indicators Project.

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Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.


The National Kidney Foundation's Dialysis Outcome Quality Initiative (NKF-DOQI) guidelines recommend that epoetin alfa should be administered by the subcutaneous route in hemodialysis patients. We determined whether hematocrit levels in hemodialysis patients differed by route of epoetin alfa administration after controlling for demographic factors and iron status. Data were available for 7,092 of the 7,658 patients randomly chosen for inclusion in the 1997 Health Care Financing Administration Core Indicators sample. Epoetin alfa was administered to 96% of the study cohort and was administered subcutaneously in 10% of patients. After controlling for hematocrit, patient characteristics, adequacy of dialysis, iron status, serum albumin, postdialysis weight, and duration of dialysis, the epoetin alfa dose by the intravenous route was 193.6 units/kg/wk (95% confidence interval, 189.5 to 197.8 units/kg/wk) compared with 167.4 units/kg/wk (95% confidence interval, 153.9 to 180.8 units/kg/wk) for the subcutaneous route (P < 0.001). The mean hematocrit for the subcutaneous route was 32.7% +/- 3.4% and for the intravenous route was 33.0% +/- 3.2% (P < 0.05). Factors independently associated with increased hematocrit included male gender, white race, older patient age, greater number of years on dialysis, higher serum albumin concentration, higher urea reduction ratio, and percent transferrin saturation (all P < 0.001). After controlling for patient factors and weekly epoetin alfa dose, there was no association between route of epoetin alfa administration and hematocrit level (P = 0.144). Patients receiving epoetin alfa by the subcutaneous route had comparable hematocrit values using a lower epoetin alfa dose than patients receiving epoetin alfa intravenously. These data support the NKF-DOQI recommendation that epoetin alfa be administered subcutaneously in long-term hemodialysis patients.

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