Although a known cardiovascular risk factor, anemia in the renal transplant recipients has only recently been receiving an increasing attention.
In a cross-sectional study, data was obtained from 959 patients followed at a single outpatient transplant clinic. Based on the guideline of the American Society of Transplantation, anemia was defined as hemoglobin (Hb) < or =130 g/L in males and < or =120 g/L in females.
About one-third (34%) of the patients were anemic. The prevalence of anemia was comparable in males and females. Serum Hb concentration was significantly correlated with the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (abbreviated modification of diet in renal disease formula) (r = 0.266, p < 0.001), serum transferrin (r = 0.268, p < 0.001) and serum albumin (r = 0.196, p < 0.001). None of the immunosuppressive medications or the use of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors was associated with a higher likelihood of anemia. In multivariate analysis the eGFR, serum albumin and serum transferrin, potential markers of nutritional status and/or chronic inflammation, and also iron deficiency were independently and significantly associated with anemia. Erythropoietin was administered only to 63 (19%) anemic patients.
Post-transplant anemia is a prevalent and under-treated condition. Based on our results we suggest that, besides other factors, protein/energy malnutrition and/or chronic inflammation may be independently associated with anemia. Further studies are needed to determine whether the presence of anemia and its treatment will have an impact on long-term outcomes of this population.