Transfusion burden in non-dialysis chronic kidney disease patients with persistent anemia treated in routine clinical practice: A retrospective observational study

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BMC Nephrology


Background: Transfusion patterns are not well characterized in non-dialysis (ND) chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. This study describes the proportion of patients transfused, units of blood transfused and trigger-hemoglobin (Hb) levels for transfusions in severe anemic, ND-CKD patients in routine practice. Methods. A retrospective cohort study of electronic medical record data from the Henry Ford Health identified 374 adult, ND-CKD patients with severe anemia (Hb < 10 g/dL and subsequent use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents [ESA] therapy, blood transfusions, or a second Hb < 10 g/dL) between January 2004 and June 2008. Exclusions included those with prior diagnoses of cancer, renal or liver transplant, end-stage renal disease, acute bleeding, trauma, sickle cell disease, or aplastic anemia. A gap of ≥1 days between units of blood transfused was counted as a separate transfusion. Results: At least 1 transfusion (mean of 2 units; range, 1-4) was administered to 20% (75/374) of ND-CKD patients with mean (±SD) follow-up of 459 (±427) days. The mean (±SD) Hb level closest and prior to a transfusion was 8.8 (±1.5) g/dL. Patients who were hospitalized in the 6 months prior to their first anemia diagnosis were 6.3 times more likely to receive a blood transfusion than patients who were not hospitalized (p < 0.0001). Patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) were twice as likely to have a transfusion as patients without PVD (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Transfusions were prevalent and the trigger hemoglobin concentration was approximately 9 g/dL among ND-CKD patients with anemia. To reduce the transfusion burden, clinicians should consider other anemia treatments including ESA therapy. © 2012 Fox et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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