Trends in haemoglobin, erythropoietin-stimulating agents and iron use in Swedish chronic kidney disease patients between 2008 and 2013

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2016 Apr;31(4):628-35. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfv298. Epub 2015 Aug 4.


Background: The guidelines for anaemia management in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients have changed substantially during the past 10 years. We here evaluate whether these changes are followed by subsequent modifications in physicians' anaemia management in Sweden.

Methods: We included patients incident to the Swedish Renal Registry for CKD non-dialysis (CKD-ND, referred patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate <45 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) and haemodialysis (HD) between 2008 and 2013. Time trends in anaemia management were investigated in relation to prescribed medication, laboratory measures and other relevant clinical characteristics. Linear and binominal regression models were used to describe trends across three predefined time periods (2008-09, 2010-11 and 2012-13).

Results: Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) use decreased over time among both CKD-ND and HD patients [risk ratio (RR) 2012-13 compared with 2008-09 for CKD-ND 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81-0.96; RR for HD 0.95, 95% CI 0.93-0.97]. Mean ESA dose decreased significantly among HD patients (7% in 2010-11 compared with 2008-09 and another 3% during 2012-13). Over the time periods studied, ESA doses increased slightly in the CKD-ND population. Mean haemoglobin (Hb) levels decreased in CKD-ND patients, among both ESA users and non-users, whereas it decreased to a lesser degree, albeit significantly, among HD ESA users. The risk of having an Hb >120 g/L decreased, especially between 2008-09 and 2010-11. Iron use increased over time, mainly in the HD population, but also among CKD-ND ESA non-users.

Conclusions: Changes in guidelines have influenced the clinical anaemia practice of Swedish nephrology care, resulting in lower ESA use and lower Hb levels.

Keywords: anaemia; erythropoietin; guidelines; haemoglobin; iron.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hematinics / therapeutic use*
  • Hemoglobins / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Iron / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors


  • Hematinics
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron