PHILADELPHIA—Mechanical damage to red blood cells (RBC) from hemodialysis (HD) does not contribute to anemia in HD patients, according to study findings presented at Kidney Week 2011.

Reduced RBC survival caused by the toxic uremic environment in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major factor in the developed CKD-related anemia, but the impact of mechanical damage due to HD has been unclear, researchers noted.  

The study, by Frederiek E. Vos, MD, and colleagues at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, included 14 hemodialysis (HD) patients, five peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients, and 14 healthy controls matched for age and gender to the HD patients. All dialysis patients were receiving erythropoiesis stimulating agents or regular iron supplementation. The investigators determined RBC survival using radioactive chromium labeling.

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More than 85% of the dialysis patients were anemic, the researchers reported in a poster. Hemoglobin concentrations did not differ significantly between the HD and PD patients. The median RBC survival was 58.1 days among in the HD group compared with 72.9 days in the controls, a significant reduction of 20%. Median RBC survival did not differ significantly between the HD and PD groups (58.1 vs. 55.3 days).

The researchers noted that the reduction in RBC survival that they observed is less than previously reported.

Study findings were published recently in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (2011;58:591-598).