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Perspect Biol Med. 2004 Autumn;47(4):575-89.

The role of anemia in congestive heart failure and chronic kidney insufficiency: the cardio renal anemia syndrome.

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Department of Nephrology, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Weizman 6, Israel.


Anemia is a major problem in patients with chronic kidney insufficiency. The development of recombinant human erythropoietin has enabled physicians to correct this anemia. Although anemia has not been considered to be a common or important contributor to congestive heart failure, anemia of any cause can lead to cardiac damage and eventually congestive heart failure. Our joint renal-cardiac heart failure team found that anemia was indeed very common in congestive heart failure and was associated with severe, medication-resistant cardiac failure. Correction of the anemia with erythropoietin and intravenous iron led to a marked improvement in patients' functional status and their cardiac function, and to a marked fall in the need for hospitalization and for high-dose diuretics; renal function usually improved or at least stabilized. Subsequent investigations by others have confirmed many of our observations. We call this interrelationship between congestive heart failure, chronic kidney insufficiency, and anemia the Cardio-Renal Anemia syndrome. Treatment of the anemia in congestive heart failure may prove vital in preventing progression of both the heart failure and the associated renal disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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