Anemia is independently associated with an increased risk for dementia among patients with new-onset chronic kidney disease (CKD), investigators reported at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week 2022 conference.

In a study that included 444,474 US veterans aged 65 years or older with new-onset CKD, patients with mild anemia and moderate or severe anemia had a significant 12% and 23% increased risk for dementia, respectively, compared with those who did not have anemia after adjusting for potential confounders, Alain Koyama, ScD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues reported in a poster presentation. The investigators adjusted for demographics and baseline clinical characteristics such as estimated glomerular filtration rate, body mass index, blood pressure, use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, smoking status, and various comorbidities.

The incidence of dementia per 1000 patient-years was 35.9 for patients without anemia compared with 46.1 and 52.7 for those with mild anemia and moderate or severe anemia, respectively.

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Dr Koyama’s team defined new-onset CKD as an eGFR less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 for more than 3 months. The study population was free of dementia and end-stage kidney disease at baseline. The investigators defined mild anemia as a hemoglobin level of 11.0-11.9 g/dL in women and 11.0-12.9 g/dL in men and moderate or severe anemia as a hemoglobin level less than 11.0 g/dL. They identified new-onset dementia during follow-up using ICD-9/10 codes in claims from the Veterans Health Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Koyama A, Wei Y, Burrows NR, et al. Anemia and dementia risk in US veterans with new-onset CKD. Presented at: Kidney Week 2022; November 3-6, Orlando, Florida. Abstract TH-PO659.