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Defining a renal anemia management period

  • Anatole Besarab
    Affiliations
    West Virginia University Department of Medicine, Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center, Morgantown, WV; and the University of British Columbia, St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Adeera Levin
    Affiliations
    West Virginia University Department of Medicine, Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center, Morgantown, WV; and the University of British Columbia, St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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      Abstract

      Estimates of the prevalence of anemia during chronic renal insufficiency (CRI) vary depending on how anemia is defined. An analysis of patients beginning dialysis in the United States found that 67% had a hematocrit of less than 30% and 51% had a hematocrit of less than 28%. The anemia of CRI, therefore, appears to be prevalent even as it is underrecognized and undertreated—despite the widespread realization that there is much to be gained by treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin, with little risk of accelerating the progression of kidney disease. It is difficult to separate the effects of anemia in CRI from those of other comorbid conditions, but it is clear that anemia is a strong predictor of mortality and cardiac morbidity. Correction of anemia would be expected to negate the contribution of anemia to the mortality and cardiac morbidity associated with CRI. While this hypothesis is well-validated in hemodialysis patients, data in the population with CRI are preliminary but encouraging. Recent small prospective studies have established that treatment of anemia with recombinant human erythropoietin can reverse some degree of the cardiac morphological changes seen in CRI. While awaiting the results of large long-term clinical trials, the concept of the renal anemia management period (RAMP) draws attention and focus to the need for proactive and aggressive treatment of anemia among patients with CRI. The RAMP is defined as the period of time after the onset of CRI during which anemia develops, requiring diagnosis and treatment. Treatment of anemia during the RAMP has the potential to ameliorate, or even prevent, significant future morbidity in patients with CRI.

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