LAS VEGAS—Blood transfusions are common for non-dialysis chronic kidney disease (ND-CKD) patients with persistent anemia, according to a report presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s Spring Clinical Meetings.

The finding is based on a study of 374 ND-CKD patients by Kathleen M. Fox, PhD, of Strategic Healthcare Solutions, LLC, in Monkton, Md., and colleagues. Of these, 75 (20%) underwent transfusions, with an average of two units of blood transfused per episode. Sixty-nine percent of transfused patients had only one transfusion during the study follow-up period.

In addition, African-American patients made up the majority of transfused patients (61%). Subjects with peripheral vascular disease were twice as likely to receive a transfusion as patients without PVD, after adjusting for history of transfusion, gender, age, race, prior nephrologist visit, prior hospitalization, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and length of follow-up. Patients hospitalized in the six months prior to the date of patients’ first Hb level below 10 g/dL (anemia index date) were 6.3 times more likely to receive a transfusion than patients who were not hospitalized, after adjusting for other characteristics. Some 77% of transfusions were preceded by an hemoglobin (Hb) level below 10 g/dL. About 63%, 36.5%, and 20% were preceded by Hb levels of 9.0-9.9, 8.0-8.9, and 7.0-7.9, respectively. Sixty-six percent of transfused patients saw a nephrologist prior to their index date.

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Race, age, gender, diabetes, CVD, prior nephrologist visit, and prior transfusion were not independently and significantly associated with the likelihood of transfusion.