Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers can decrease hemoglobin, causing anemia and this may be an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease progression. We studied the relationship between a decline in hemoglobin and outcome in 1513 patients with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease by a post hoc analysis of the RENAAL Study (Reduction of Endpoints in NIDDM with the Angiotensin II Antagonist Losartan) with an average follow-up of 3.4 years. The relationship between baseline and year-1 hemoglobin and treatment on end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and ESRD or death was evaluated using multivariate Cox models (covariates: baseline hemoglobin, proteinuria, serum albumin, serum creatinine, and year-1 hemoglobin). Compared with placebo, losartan treatment was associated with a significant decrease of hemoglobin, with the largest between-group difference at 1 year. After adjustment, there were significant relative risk reductions for losartan compared with placebo for ESRD and for ESRD or death regardless of the baseline hemoglobin even in those patients with a baseline hemoglobin below 120 g l(-1). Hence, the renoprotective properties of losartan were maintained despite a significant lowering of the hemoglobin concentration.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00308347.