Factors determining the percentage of hypochromic red blood cells determines iron status in hemodialysis patients.
Background: Determination of the percentage of hypochromic red blood cells (RBC; %HYPO) has been advocated as a sensitive index of functional iron deficiency during erythropoietin (EPO) therapy in hemodialyzed patients.
Methods: The significance of %HYPO in chronic renal failure was evaluated in 64 chronically hemodialyzed patients. The linear correlation was determined between %HYPO and 13 variables, including age, sex, weight, C-reactive protein (CRP), ferritin, transferrin (Tf), Tf saturation, soluble Tf receptor (sTfR), serum iron (SI), urea, parathormone, dialysis dose (Kt/V), dose of EPO administered (EPO), and absolute reticulocyte count. Multiple regression analyses were then performed to select the parameters that jointly provide the best prediction of %HYPO.
Results: Univariate analysis showed significant correlations between %HYPO and iron parameters (sTfR, Tf saturation, SI, and ferritin, in decreasing order), EPO, reticulocyte count, and CRP. Multivariate analysis yielded an equation showing that the variation of %HYPO is essentially associated with the combined changes in sTfR, CRP, and EPO dosage.
Conclusions: %HYPO is a meaningful and inexpensive parameter that reflects the integrated effects of iron stores, inflammation, and erythropoietic stimulation on iron availability in hemodialyzed patients. Among iron exchange parameters, sTfR is the best predictor of %HYPO, followed by Tf saturation, SI, and ferritin.