Progressive decline in renal function induces a gradual decrease in total hemoglobin and exercise capacity

Nephron. 1994;67(3):322-6. doi: 10.1159/000187987.


We examined 58 patients (38 men, 20 women; mean age: 45 +/- 12 years; body mass index: 24 +/- 4 kg/m2) with a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) ranging from 3 to 32 ml/min, in order to determine the effects of a progressive decline in renal function on total hemoglobin (THb) and exercise capacity. The THb ranged from 185 to 759 g and the hemoglobin concentration ranged from 66 to 151 g/l. Maximal exercise capacity ranged from 50 to 260 W (40-143% of the expected norm). Nearly all the patients interrupted their exercise tests due to general fatigue, leg tiredness or a combination of these factors. There was a significant partial correlation between THb and GFR after sex and age had been accounted for (r = 0.39; p < 0.005). Maximal exercise capacity and THb showed a significant partial correlation after sex, age and GFR had been accounted for (r = 0.27; p < 0.05). Maximal exercise capacity showed a significant partial correlation with GFR after sex, age and THb had been accounted for (r = 0.30; P < 0.05). In conclusion, there is a gradual decline in THb and maximal exercise capacity as uremia progresses. Anemia appears to be a contributory cause responsible for the decrease in maximal exercise capacity along with other factors pertinent to uremia per se.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Anemia / physiopathology
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors


  • Hemoglobins