DaVita Medical Insights

The Prevalence of Anemia in End Stage Renal Disease Patients

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Anemia among end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients is recognized as exceedingly common, but its exact prevalence in the United States is unknown. No single ESRD-specific anemia metric has been well accepted in the nephrology community. One indication of anemia in ESRD patients is treatment with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), which is typically initiated at hemoglobin (Hb) < 10 g/dL. This treatment and Hb measurement were used in a study conducted by DaVita Clinical Research to explore prevalence of anemia in a cross-sectional population of ESRD patients under separate anemia definitions.

The study found that anemia prevalence varied by the defining criteria. Anemia prevalence, as of January 2015, was:

  • 21.9 percent, when defined as Hb < 10 g/dL
  • 84.7 percent, when defined as treated with ESA
  • 85.2 percent, when defined as Hb < 10 g/dL or treated with ESA

The prevalence for anemia defined as Hb < 10 g/dL was low; therefore, the definition was found to be not clinically meaningful in measuring anemia in the ESRD population. Conversely, anemia defined as treated with ESA captures 99.4 percent of patients under the combined definition of treated with ESA or Hb < 10 g/dL, and has the potential to be applied to more analytic scenarios.

For more information, read the research poster here.

Scott Sibbel, PhD, MPH

Scott Sibbel, PhD, MPH

Scott Sibbel, PhD, MPH, is director of health economics and outcomes research at DaVita Clinical Research. He has authored more than 40 abstracts and manuscripts in renal and chronic disease research. He completed his PhD in epidemiology at the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in public health at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He previously served as an American Heart Association Research fellow and instructor at the University of Colorado, where he studied the genetics of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.