Date Published: 
Friday, 21 March, 2014

Anaemia twice as prevalent in patients with chronic kidney disease, new analyses indicate

Anaemia, which is most commonly caused by iron deficiency, is twice as prevalent in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) compared with the general population and increases with increasing disease severity, a new study in the USA indicates.

Anaemia is one of the many complications of CKD and iron deficiency is a leading cause of anaemia. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007–2008 and 2009–2010, were used to determine the prevalence of anaemia (defined as serum haemoglobin levels ≤12 g/dL in women and ≤13 g/dL in men) in patients with CKD.

The survey found that an estimated 14% of the US adult population had CKD in 2007–2010. Anaemia was twice as prevalent in people with CKD (15.4%) as in the general population (7.6%). The prevalence of anaemia also increased with stage of CKD, from 8.4% at Stage 1 to 53.4% at Stage 5.

However, only one in five CKD patients with anaemia reported being treated for the condition within the previous 3 months. The authors suggest that the low treatment rates for anaemia in CKD are in line with previous studies. For example, in a study by Lawler et al among 89,000 patients with anaemia and CKD, 7.1% initiated erythropoietin stimulating agents within a year of diagnosis of anaemia, while 30.8% initiated iron therapy and 16.5% had blood transfusions1.

The authors conclude that anaemia is prevalent in the US population of patients with CKD. Furthermore, the condition is more frequent at higher stages of CKD. Despite this, relatively few patients are being treated to correct the anaemia. The updated knowledge of prevalence and treatment regimes for anaemia in CKD may help to inform future treatment strategies for this patient population.

The full article can be found in the January issue of PLoS One. For further news on iron deficiency in chronic kidney disease, please click here.