Aims: To conduct a 3-month prospective study to determine the optimal way for intravenous iron supplementation in hemodialysis (HD) patients with resistance to recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) therapy due to deficient iron storage.
Methods: Thirty-five HD patients with iron deficiency were divided into three groups: (1) patients receiving an intravenous infusion of 40 mg of iron during the first ten HD sessions (n = 12); (2) patients receiving 40 mg of iron injected once a week for 10 weeks (n = 12), and (3) patients without any iron supplementation (n = 11). The rHuEPO dosage was adjusted to maintain hemoglobin levels >10.0 g/dl, and the degree of anemia was assessed 3 months later.
Results: In group 1, the hemoglobin levels were significantly increased after 4 weeks and remained increased until the end of the study (p < 0.01). In group 2, the hemoglobin levels were gradually increased until the end of the study (p < 0.01). There was no difference in the final hemoglobin values between both groups. The rHuEPO dosage was significantly decreased from 131 +/- 18 to 90 +/- 17 U/kg/week in group 1 (p < 0.01), but could not be changed in group 2 during the observation period despite a similar elevation of the serum ferritin level. In group 3, the rHuEPO doses were rather increased at the end of the study (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Aggressive iron supplementation for the short term may be effective to restore rHuEPO hyporesponsiveness in HD patients with functional iron deficiency.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel