Fliser D, Portoles J, Houghton K, Ainsworth C, Blogg M, Lorenzo MM. Treatment of anaemia with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and concomitant therapies among patients with non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (NDD-CKD) in Germany, Spain and the UK: a retrospective chart review. Poster presented at the 2021 58th ERA-EDTA Virtual Congress; June 5, 2021.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Among patients with CKD, prevalence of anaemia increases with CKD severity,1 and is accompanied by elevated risk of hospitalisation and mortality.2 Treatment options include iron therapy and ESAs; international guidelines recommend initiating ESA therapy when haemoglobin (Hb) declines <10 g/dL, and to monitor Hb and iron status every 3 months during ESA treatment.3 This study aimed to describe the routine clinical management of patients with NDD-CKD and anaemia following ESA initiation, in Germany, Spain and the UK.

This was a non-interventional, retrospective cohort study of adults with NDD-CKD stages 3b–5 (as defined in KDIGO 2012 guidelines)1 diagnosed with anaemia (Hb <13.0 g/dL [males] or <12.0 g/dL [females]), who began ESA treatment 01 Jan 2015–31 Dec 2015 inclusive. Data for ≤24 months after ESA initiation were extracted from medical records: patient characteristics; anaemia diagnosis and treatment (including iron and ESA use); Hb, serum ferritin and transferrin saturation (TSAT) measurements; and CKD-related outcomes. Patients were excluded if they had been diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease at baseline, or previously received a kidney transplant or dialysis.

In total, 848 patient records (Germany, 211; Spain, 430; UK, 207) were included. Average age was 66 years (Table). Most patients were white and almost half had >2 comorbidities. Prior to ESA initiation, at least half of all patients in each country received either oral or intravenous (IV) iron therapy. The average (mean ± SD) number of months between anaemia diagnosis and initiation of ESA therapy was 8.4 ± 19.2. Hb levels were recorded at ESA initiation for almost all (91.3%) patients and averaged 9.8 ± 1.0 g/dL for the total cohort; this initial Hb level was similar between countries (Table). Mean ± SD estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at ESA initiation was 28.0 ± 10.4 ml/min/1.73m2. Across countries, 72–88% of patients received ESAs at home. The mean ± SD duration of therapy (at the time of data collection) was 41.2 ± 18.2 months, and the median weekly dose of short-acting and long-acting ESAs was 3238 IU and 20 μg, respectively. During their initial course of therapy, three-quarters of patients had either an increase or decrease in ESA dose. Less than 10% of patients switched ESAs, while approximately one-third discontinued within 2 years of initiation. At 3 and 6 months post-ESA initiation, only 64.7% of the sample had a documented Hb measurement despite continuing ESA treatment; this proportion was further reduced to 60.0% by 12 months after initiation.
The Hb target was maintained by 88.7%, 74.6% and 49.4% of patients at 3, 6 and 12 months, respectively. Mean ferritin levels were 167.3 ng/mL at initiation and 198.7 ng/mL at 12 months (among the 85% and 48% of the sample, respectively, with recorded data). Mean TSAT was 22.1% at initiation and 25.6% at 12 months (among the 67% and 38%, respectively, with recorded data). Approximately three-quarters of patients (77.3%) received iron therapy concomitantly with ESA treatment; in the UK, most of these received IV iron, while in Germany and Spain, a majority received oral iron (Table). Blood transfusions were more common in Spain (24.2%) than in Germany (5.1%) or the UK (8.4%). Approximately one-fifth of patients required dialysis.

CONCLUSION: Initiation of ESAs to treat anaemia among patients with NDD-CKD in Germany, Spain and the UK follows current guidelines. However, recommendations to regularly monitor Hb were not routinely followed or were poorly documented. As most patients with NDD-CKD anaemia were treated at home, oral therapies may be of benefit to these patients.

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