Anemia in patients on chronic hemodialysis in Cameroon: prevalence, characteristics and management in low resources setting
Background: Anemia is a common complication of chronic kidney disease. We investigated the prevalence, characteristics and management of anemia in patients on chronic hemodialysis and assessed the response to blood-transfusion based management in Cameroon.
Methods: This was a cohort study of five months’ duration (August-December 2008) conducted at the Yaoundé General Hospital’s hemodialysis center, involving 95 patients (67 men, 70.5%) on chronic hemodialysis by a native arterio-venous fistula. A monthly evaluation included full blood counts, number of pints of red cell concentrates transfused, and vital status.
Results: At baseline, 75 (79%) patients had anemia which was microcytic and hypochromic in 32 (43%). Anemia was corrected in 67 (70.5%) patients using blood transfusion only, while 28 (29.5%) patients were receiving erythropoietin (11 regularly, 39%). Only 77.2% of 342 pints (median 3.0, range 0-17 per patients) of red cell concentrates prescribed were effectively received during the follow-up at an unacceptably high cost to patients and families. Mean hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin levels remained stable during follow-up, while mean corpuscular volume increased. Erythropoietin treatment was the main determinant of favorable trajectories of hematological markers.
Conclusions: Patients on chronic hemodialysis have predominantly microcytic hypochromic anemia, with limited capacity for correction using blood transfusion.
Key words: Anemia; Blood transfusion; End stage renal disease; Hemodialysis; Sub-Saharan Africa
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