Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Benefits and risks of protracted treatment with human recombinant erythropoietin in patients having haemodialysis.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 24 October 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:1017
  1. S Casati,
  2. P Passerini,
  3. M R Campise,
  4. G Graziani,
  5. B Cesana,
  6. M Perisic,
  7. C Ponticelli
  1. Divisione di Nefrologia, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.


    Fourteen patients with uraemic anaemia and having regular haemodialysis were given human recombinant erythropoietin in increasing doses, beginning with 24 U/kg thrice weekly. One patient was dropped from the study because of recurrent thrombosis of vascular access sites. In the other 13 patients, followed up for a mean of 9.1 months (range 8-11), haemoglobin concentrations increased from 62 (SD 8) to 105 (9) g/l. No antierythropoietin antibodies were detected during the study. The correction of anaemia was associated with a tendency to hyperkalaemia and a mild increase of unconjugated bilirubinaemia. In eight previously hypertensive patients antihypertensive treatment had to be reinforced, but in normotensive patients blood pressure did not change. Thrombosis of arteriovenous fistulas occurred in two patients and a cerebral ischaemic lesion in one. Protracted treatment with human recombinant erythropoietin evidently can maintain normal haemoglobin concentrations in uraemic patients over time. Full correction of anaemia, however, may trigger some vascular problems, particularly in hypertensive patients and those with a tendency to thromboembolism.