Approaches to the treatment of anaemia in patients with chronic heart failure.

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Approaches to the treatment of anaemia in patients with chronic heart failure.

Heart Fail Rev. 2008 Dec;13(4):431-8

Authors: Murphy CL, McMurray JJ

An association between anaemia, poor functional status and, compared to non-anaemic patients, worse clinical status and a higher risk of hospitalisation and death has been consistently reported in chronic heart failure (CHF), although cause an effect has not been proven. While it is attractive to think that correction of a co-morbidity that exacerbates already diminished delivery of oxygen to the tissues in heart failure is likely to beneficial, the possible haemodynamic effects of increasing haemoglobin, for example vasoconstriction, might not be. Consequently, the balance of benefit and risk of anaemia correction in CHF is uncertain, may vary according to the severity of anaemia (and other factors) and needs to be properly evaluated. To date, most studies of anaemia correction in CHF have used erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs). The trials with erythropoietin have been of small size, uncontrolled or unblended/single blind, raising concerns again about interpretation of subjective outcomes. In addition, the analyses of these trials have been suboptimal. Two double-blind, placebo-controlled, darbepoetin studies have been published in full. Neither showed an improvement in functional capacity or consistent effect on patient reported symptoms/quality of life. Darbepoetin is, however, currently being tested in a large-scale, phase III morbidity and mortality trial, the Reduction of Events with Darbepoetin alfa in Heart Failure (RED-HF) which should contribute important information of the safety and efficacy of ESAs in this syndrome. Other approaches, notably parenteral iron supplementation, are also being evaluated and other agents for anaemia correction are under development.

PMID: 18392791 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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