14 August 2006
Background: Arteriovenous grafts (AVG) and tunneled permanent catheters (TPC) are increasingly being used in hemodialysis (HD) patients. However, their role in baseline inflammatory status has not been fully evaluated. Aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of the current kind of vascular access on the baseline inflammatory status, marked by serum C-reactive protein (CRP), and the response to epoetin therapy in a group of iron-replete HD patients, under steady clinical conditions, without evidence of acute infections and/or inflammatory diseases. Methods: We studied 79 patients who had been on bicarbonate HD for 8–410 months and were receiving epoetin therapy. They all had adequate iron stores and stable hemoglobin (Hb) levels. Exclusion criteria were fever, signs of infection, white blood cell count (WBC) >10 × 1,000/µl, for at least 4 weeks before study. 48 patients (group A) had arteriovenous fistula (AVF), 18 patients (group B) AVG, 13 patients (group C) TPC. CRP, Hb, transferrin saturation, serum ferritin, WBC, serum albumin, protein catabolic rate, Kt/V, and epoetin dose (U/kg body weight/week) were measured. CRP values were log-transformed to normalize the distribution. Results: Log-transformed CRP values among the 3 groups were significantly different: group A 1.81 ± 0.48; group B 2.12 ± 0.50, and group C 3.00 ± 0.25 (group A vs. B p < 0.003; group B vs. C p < 0.001; group A vs. C p < 0.0001). CRP and the epoetin dose were directly correlated (r = 0.519; p < 0.0001). The epoetin doses among the 3 groups were significantly different. Multiple regression analysis confirmed AVG and TPC as factors independently influencing CRP levels. Conclusions: AVG and TPC have a higher degree of chronic inflammation than AVF. The epoetin requirement is increased in TPC and AVG compared with AVF.