Patients with higher serum phosphorus levels without obvious chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at an increased risk of anemia, according to a study reported at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2014 Spring Clinical Meetings in Las Vegas.

In a cross-sectional study, John J. Sim, MD, and collaborators at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center examined 32,907 patients with documented serum phosphorus from January 1998 to December 2009 to determine the association between serum phosphorus and anemia in the non-CKD population.

Patients who met the criteria for anemia made up 13% of the group, and serum phosphorus levels ranged from 1.9 to 5.7 mg/dL. Mean age of included patients was 52 years.

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Each 0.5 mg/dL increment in phosphorus was associated with a 7% increased risk of anemia. The investigators also looked an anemia risk by quartiles of phosphorus levels. Compared with patients in the lowest quartile (1.9-3.1 mg/dL), those in the second and third quartiles (3.1-3.5 and 3.5-3.9 , respectively) had a 15% and 10% decreased risk of anemia, whereas patients in the highest quartile (3.9-5.7 mg/dL) had a 5% increased risk.