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      Early renoprotection by anemia correction

      Clinical and Experimental Nephrology

      Springer Singapore

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          To the Editor Whether correction of anemia by erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) retards the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is still a matter for debate. The early study suggested that correction of anemia with ESA was beneficial to slow down the CKD progression [1]. In contrast, the studies CREATE, CHOIR, which compared high target group vs. low target group, did not support such a renoprotection [2, 3]. Of interest is that the recent study suggests that anemia treatment with ESA has a substantial renal preserving effect over time [4]. Taking all of these into consideration, Covic et al. conducted a meta-analysis on 19 studies using different endpoints and insisted that ESA does not prevent the progression of CKD [5]. I agree in general that CKD patients do not always benefit from treatment with ESA on renoprotection. One must be careful, however, about renoprotection at an early stage because renal anemia develops at an advanced phase in most of the CKD patients. In a daily clinical practice of examining patients with early phase CKD, we nephrologists are instinctively aware of the fact that there are subgroups of patients who respond well to the therapy with ESA, and as a consequence slow the progression. The characteristics of those patients may include CKD at an early stage, non-diabetic, younger age, and those with less proteinuria. Covic’s review was scientific enough to discuss the flaw that there was an absence of poor early outcomes such as doubling of serum creatinine (Cr) concentration, an early surrogate marker for the progression. In fact, high hemoglobin apparently favors doubling of Cr in their analysis [5]. In this context, the research on the early phase prevention of failing kidney by ESA is probably in dire need.

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          Correction of anemia with epoetin alfa in chronic kidney disease.

           Lynda Szczech,  ,  Shelly Sapp (2006)
          Anemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease, usually develops as a consequence of erythropoietin deficiency. Recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the correction of anemia associated with this condition. However, the optimal level of hemoglobin correction is not defined. In this open-label trial, we studied 1432 patients with chronic kidney disease, 715 of whom were randomly assigned to receive a dose of epoetin alfa targeted to achieve a hemoglobin level of 13.5 g per deciliter and 717 of whom were assigned to receive a dose targeted to achieve a level of 11.3 g per deciliter. The median study duration was 16 months. The primary end point was a composite of death, myocardial infarction, hospitalization for congestive heart failure (without renal replacement therapy), and stroke. A total of 222 composite events occurred: 125 events in the high-hemoglobin group, as compared with 97 events in the low-hemoglobin group (hazard ratio, 1.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.74; P=0.03). There were 65 deaths (29.3%), 101 hospitalizations for congestive heart failure (45.5%), 25 myocardial infarctions (11.3%), and 23 strokes (10.4%). Seven patients (3.2%) were hospitalized for congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction combined, and one patient (0.5%) died after having a stroke. Improvements in the quality of life were similar in the two groups. More patients in the high-hemoglobin group had at least one serious adverse event. The use of a target hemoglobin level of 13.5 g per deciliter (as compared with 11.3 g per deciliter) was associated with increased risk and no incremental improvement in the quality of life. ( number, NCT00211120 [].). Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Normalization of hemoglobin level in patients with chronic kidney disease and anemia.

            Whether correction of anemia in patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease improves cardiovascular outcomes is not established. We randomly assigned 603 patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 15.0 to 35.0 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area and mild-to-moderate anemia (hemoglobin level, 11.0 to 12.5 g per deciliter) to a target hemoglobin value in the normal range (13.0 to 15.0 g per deciliter, group 1) or the subnormal range (10.5 to 11.5 g per deciliter, group 2). Subcutaneous erythropoietin (epoetin beta) was initiated at randomization (group 1) or only after the hemoglobin level fell below 10.5 g per deciliter (group 2). The primary end point was a composite of eight cardiovascular events; secondary end points included left ventricular mass index, quality-of-life scores, and the progression of chronic kidney disease. During the 3-year study, complete correction of anemia did not affect the likelihood of a first cardiovascular event (58 events in group 1 vs. 47 events in group 2; hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.53 to 1.14; P=0.20). Left ventricular mass index remained stable in both groups. The mean estimated GFR was 24.9 ml per minute in group 1 and 24.2 ml per minute in group 2 at baseline and decreased by 3.6 and 3.1 ml per minute per year, respectively (P=0.40). Dialysis was required in more patients in group 1 than in group 2 (127 vs. 111, P=0.03). General health and physical function improved significantly (P=0.003 and P<0.001, respectively, in group 1, as compared with group 2). There was no significant difference in the combined incidence of adverse events between the two groups, but hypertensive episodes and headaches were more prevalent in group 1. In patients with chronic kidney disease, early complete correction of anemia does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. ( number, NCT00321919 [].). Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Reversal of anemia by erythropoietin therapy retards the progression of chronic renal failure, especially in nondiabetic patients.

              Therapy with human recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) has been accepted as effective for renal anemia in dialysis patients. However, studies in rats have shown that correcting anemia with EPO may affect the progression of renal dysfunction. In humans, however, the effect of EPO on residual renal function is a matter of controversy. We, therefore, investigated whether the long-term administration of EPO to predialysis patients influences residual renal function. Anemic patients at the predialysis stage with a serum creatinine (Cr) concentration ranging from 2 to 4 (average 2.9) mg/dl and a hematocrit (Ht) of less than 30% were randomly assigned to two groups which consisted of anemic patients not treated with EPO (group I, untreated anemic controls, n = 31) and anemic patients treated with EPO (group II, treated anemics, n = 42). Patients with nonsevere or moderate anemia (Ht > 30%) with a Cr ranging from 2 to 4 (average 2.6) mg/dl were also recruited as nonanemic controls (group III, untreated nonanemic controls, n = 35). Blood pressure was controlled to the same degree among the three groups by combined treatment with calcium antagonists and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. All patients were kept strictly on a low-protein (0.6 g/kg/day) and a low-salt (7 g/day) diet. The degree of control of dietary protein and blood pressure and the frequency of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor administration were comparable among the three groups. The primary end point for each patient was a doubling of the baseline Cr which yielded cumulative renal survival rates which were plotted against time. Ht rose significantly from 27.0+/-2.3 to 32.1+/-3.2% in group II (n = 42, p < 0.001) with a rate of increase of 0.4+/-0.06%/week. However, it declined from 27.9+/-1.8 to 25.3+/-1.9% in group I (n = 31, p < 0.001) and from 35.9+/-3.5 to 32.2+/-3.9% in group III (n = 35, p < 0.001). Cr doubled in 26 patients (84%) in group I as compared with 22 (52%) in group II and 21 (60%) in group III. The cumulative renal survival rates in groups II and III were significantly better than that in group I: p = 0.0003 (group I vs. group II) and p = 0.0024 (group I vs. group III). However, there was no difference in the renal survival rate between groups II and III (p = 0.3111). The better survival rate obtained in group II was attributable to the better survival rate for the nondiabetic patients in this group. The present study suggests that anemia, per se, is a factor in the progression of end-stage renal failure and that reversal of anemia by EPO can retard the progression of renal failure, especially in nondiabetic patients, provided that blood pressure control, rate of increase in Ht, and dietary protein restriction are appropriate.

                Author and article information

                Clin Exp Nephrol
                Clin. Exp. Nephrol
                Clinical and Experimental Nephrology
                Springer Singapore (Singapore )
                10 March 2018
                10 March 2018
                : 22
                : 5
                : 1229
                ISNI 0000 0001 0661 2073, GRID grid.411898.d, Jikei University School of Medicine, ; 3-25-8, Nishi-shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-8461 Japan
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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