Anemia After Renal Transplantation: An Underestimated Problem
In end-stage renal disease patients anemia is known to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and death. In a monocenter retrospective analysis, we investigated 207 stable patients (68 women/139 men) who underwent a first renal transplantation. Immunosuppressive therapy was performed with either cyclosporine plus mycophenolate mofetil, tacrolimus plus mycophenolate mofetil, or rapamycin plus mycophenolate mofetil; 43.5% of the patients were treated with steroids. Seventy-eight patients (37.7%) displayed anemia, including 8.7% with a severe disorder displaying an average hemoglobin (Hb) level of <6.8 mmo/L in men and <6.2 mmol/L in women. In 8.2% of the cases, we observed moderate anemia (Hb 6.8–7.4 mmol/L in men and 6.2–6.8 mmol/L in women), and in 20.8% (29 men and 14 women), mild anemia (Hb <8.06 mmol/L in men and <7.45 mmol/L in women). Erythropoietin was administered in 55.5% of patients with severe anemia, 53% with moderate anemia, and 11.6% with mild anemia. Serum creatinine level was a significant predictor of anemia (B −0.004; SE 0.001; P < .01). Among patients with creatinine >200 μmol/L, 63% were anemic compared with 22% of those with a serum creatinine level <200 μmol/L (P < .05). No correlation was observed with immunosuppressive medication or treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin-II receptor antagonists. During a 3-year follow-up, both mortality and graft failure rates were significantly greater among anemic patients nonanemic patients (mortality 3.3% vs 0.5%, P < .001; graft failure 4.3% vs 0%, P < .001). We found an unexpectedly high incidence of anemia in patients with well-functioning grafts. Anemia as a risk factor for mortality and graft failure should be treated more intensively among renal transplant patients.