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Nat Rev Nephrol. 2011 Sep 6;7(11):635-41. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2011.115.

Anemia in children with chronic kidney disease.

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Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 200 N. Wolfe Street, Room 3064, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Anemia is a common comorbidity in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD). This condition is associated with multiple adverse clinical consequences and its management is a core component of nephrology care. Increased morbidity and mortality, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and decreased quality of life have been associated with anemia of CKD in children. Although numerous complex factors interact in the development of this anemia, erythropoietin deficiency and iron dysregulation (including iron deficiency and iron-restricted erythropoiesis) are the primary causes. In addition to iron supplementation, erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) can effectively treat this anemia, but there are important differences in ESA dose requirements between children and adults. Also, hyporesponsiveness to ESA therapy is a common problem in children with CKD. Although escalating ESA doses to target increased hemoglobin values in adults has been associated with adverse outcomes, no studies have demonstrated this association in children. The question of appropriate target hemoglobin levels in children, and the approach by which to achieve these levels, remains under debate. Randomized, controlled studies are needed to evaluate whether normalization of hemoglobin concentrations is beneficial to children, and whether this practice is associated with increased risks.

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