Responsiveness to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) varies widely among dialysis patients. ESA resistance has been associated with mortality in hemodialysis (HD) patients, but in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients data is limited. Therefore we assessed the relation between ESA resistance in both HD and PD patients.
NECOSAD is a Dutch multi-center prospective cohort study of incident dialysis patients who started dialysis between January 1997 and January 2007. ESA resistance was defined as hemoglobin level < 11 g/dL with an above median ESA dose (i.e. 8,000 units/week in HD and 4,000 units/week in PD patients). Unadjusted and adjusted Cox regression analysis for all-cause 5-year mortality was performed for HD and PD patients separately.
1013 HD and 461 PD patients were included in the analysis. ESA resistant HD patients had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.37 (95% CI 1.04-1.80) and ESA resistant PD patients had an adjusted hazard ratio of 2.41 (1.27-4.57) as compared to patients with a good response.
ESA resistance, as defined by categories of ESA and Hb, is associated with increased mortality in both HD and PD patients. The effect of ESA resistance, ESA dose and hemoglobin are closely related and the exact mechanism remains unclear. Our results strengthen the need to investigate and treat causes of ESA resistance not only in HD, but also in PD patients.