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Am J Kidney Dis. 2013 Jan;61(1):44-56. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2012.07.014. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

Dose of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and adverse outcomes in CKD: a metaregression analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Kidney and Dialysis Research Laboratory, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston, MA 02135, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Targeting higher hemoglobin levels with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to treat the anemia of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with increased cardiovascular risk.

STUDY DESIGN:

Metaregression analysis examining the association of ESA dose with adverse outcomes independent of target or achieved hemoglobin level.

SETTING & POPULATION:

Patients with anemia of CKD irrespective of dialysis status.

SELECTION CRITERIA FOR STUDIES:

We searched MEDLINE (inception to August 2010) and bibliographies of published meta-analyses and selected randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of ESAs for the treatment of anemia in adults with CKD, with a minimum 3-month duration. Two authors independently screened citations and extracted relevant data. Individual study arms were treated as cohorts and constituted the unit of analysis.

PREDICTORS:

ESA dose standardized to a weekly epoetin alfa equivalent, and hemoglobin levels.

OUTCOMES:

All-cause and cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular events, kidney disease progression, or transfusion requirement.

RESULTS:

31 trials (12,956 patients) met the criteria. All-cause mortality was associated with higher (per epoetin alfa-equivalent 10,000-U/wk increment) first-3-month mean ESA dose (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.42; 95% CI, 1.10-1.83) and higher total-study-period mean ESA dose (IRR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18). First-3-month ESA dose remained significant after adjusting for first-3-month mean hemoglobin level (IRR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.02-2.14), as did total-study-period mean ESA dose adjusting for target hemoglobin level (IRR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.08-1.82). Parameter estimates between ESA dose and cardiovascular mortality were similar in magnitude and direction, but not statistically significant. Higher total-study-period mean ESA dose also was associated with increased rate of hypertension, stroke, and thrombotic events, including dialysis vascular access-related thrombotic events.

LIMITATIONS:

Use of study-level aggregated data; use of epoetin alfa-equivalent doses; lack of adjustment for confounders.

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with CKD, higher ESA dose might be associated with all-cause mortality and cardiovascular complications independent of hemoglobin level.

PMID:
22921639
PMCID:
PMC3525813
DOI:
10.1053/j.ajkd.2012.07.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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