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Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2007 May;16(3):267-71.

The treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease: understandings in 2006.

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Division of Nephrology, University of British Columbia, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Anemia is a well recognized complication of chronic kidney disease and is associated with significant morbidity. It is important for clinical care to identify appropriate treatments and targets for hemoglobin. This review describes current understandings of the treatment of anemia using the most recent published articles.


Numerous studies, including observational and randomized control trials, of varying sizes and using both surrogate and hard outcomes have been published. On balance, there is little to support normalization of hemoglobin in the chronic kidney disease population. While some studies have described harm, there are some issues related to overinterpretation based on study trial reporting. The treatment of anemia can be successfully achieved with the use of oral or intravenous iron and erythropoiten-stimulating agents. Caution should be exercised when treating those with significant cardiovascular morbidity, and those who require very high doses of erythropoiten-stimulating agents to achieve normal hemoglobin.


Large observational population-based studies continue to demonstrate the association of low hemoglobin with adverse outcomes, and randomized control trials fail to show a benefit of normalized hemoglobin. Anemia therapy does improve quality of life. In the current era of aggressive chronic kidney disease management, it does not appear that anemia therapy attenuates left ventricular growth or changes cardiovascular outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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