Anemia and end-stage renal disease in the developing world

Artif Organs. 2002 Sep;26(9):760-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1594.2002.07066.x.


In developing countries, multiple comorbidities such as malnutrition, parasitoses, and hemoglobinopathies contribute to the aggravation of anemia observed in patients with end-stage renal diseases. We analyze here the results of a retrospective evaluation of red-cells indices and iron parameters conducted at the end of December 2000 in 304 prevalent Tunisian patients (sex ratio, 1.05; mean age, 53.7 years) receiving chronic hemodialysis for a median duration of 49.6 months (range, 1.6 to 278). Anemia, observed in 87.8% of patients, was normochromic and normocytic in 73% of cases. Only 2% of patients had microcytic and hypochromic anemia. Iron deficiency was observed in 21.6% of anemic patients. The mean rate of hemoglobin was significantly higher in men and in patients with polycystic kidney disease as the cause of renal failure. There was a positive correlation between hemoglobin values and the quality of dialysis. Only 10.8% of patients were on recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) and 38% required regular transfusions. We conclude that anemia observed in our patients had, in most cases, the characteristics of renal anemia and could be attributed to a deficit of renal production of erythropoietin. However, for financial reasons, prescription of rHuEPO is rather restrictive and blood transfusion remains largely used. The nephrology community and dialysis providers should increase their efforts to improve the anemia care of dialyzed patients in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia / complications*
  • Anemia / diagnosis
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Anemia / therapy
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Developing Countries*
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tunisia / epidemiology


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Iron