Background/Aims: Recent changes in clinical practice guidelines and reimbursement policies may have affected the use of anemia-related medications and red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD) patients. We sought to compare patterns of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) and intravenous (IV) iron use, achieved hemoglobin levels, and RBC transfusion use in PD and HD patients. Methods: In quarterly cohorts of prevalent dialysis patients receiving persistent therapy (>3 months), 2007-2011, with Medicare Parts A and B coverage, we assessed ESA and IV iron use and dose, RBC transfusions, and hemoglobin levels. Quarterly transfusion rates were calculated. Results: Observable PD and HD patients numbered 14,958 and 221,866 in Q1/2007 and 17,842 and 256,942 in Q4/2011. Adjusted ESA use was lower in PD (71.4-80.1%) than in HD (86.9-92.0%) patients, decreasing from 80.1% (Q1/2010) to 71.4% (Q4/2011) in PD patients, and from 92.0 to 86.9% in HD patients. The mean adjusted ESA dose decreased by 67.5% in PD and 58.4% in HD patients. IV iron use tended to increase, peaking at 39.3% for PD (Q3/2011) and 80.5% for HD (Q2/2011) patients. Adjusted mean hemoglobin levels fell from 11.7 to 10.6 mg/dl in PD and from 12.0 to 10.7 mg/dl in HD ESA users; adjusted transfusion rates increased from 2.4 to 3.0 per 100 patient-months in PD and from 2.6 to 3.3 in HD patients. Conclusions: In patients receiving persistent dialysis, dose and frequency of ESA administrations decreased during the period 2007-2011. Mean hemoglobin levels decreased by more than 1 g/dl, while transfusion rates increased by approximately 25%.
- Peritoneal dialysis