Long-term effects of recombinant human erythropoietin on macro- and microcirculation in chronic hemodialysis patients

Blood Purif. 1993;11(4):237-47. doi: 10.1159/000170120.


Recombinant human erythropoietin therapy (ReHuEpo) at short term leads to an increase in systemic vascular resistance and to a decrease in cardiac index and skin microcirculatory flow. Long-term adaptive changes might occur. We studied the effects of ReHuEpo therapy on macrocirculation and skin microcirculation in 8 normotensive and normovolemic hemodialysis patients before and after, respectively, 4 and 14 months of treatment. The reported macrocirculatory changes at short term were at long term not significantly different as compared with the initial values. The mean arterial pressure remained unaltered, as might be explained by the slow correction of the hematocrit and the decrease in cardiac output in all initially long-lasting normotensive patients who were maintained normovolemic. Left ventricular end-diastolic dimensions decreased, and also the left ventricular muscle mass decreased, depending on the initial left ventricular muscle mass. The skin oxygenation improved, whereas the maximal capillary flow decreased both at short- and long-term ReHuEpo treatment. The number of capillaries in the nail fold remained unchanged. However, the percentage of tortuosity decreased significantly during ReHuEpo therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / drug therapy
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Blood Gas Monitoring, Transcutaneous
  • Erythropoietin / pharmacology*
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Skin / blood supply*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Oxygen