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Erythropoietin Dose and Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients: Marginal Structural Model to Examine Causality.

  • Author(s): Streja, Elani
  • Park, Jongha
  • Chan, Ting-Yan
  • Lee, Janet
  • Soohoo, Melissa
  • Rhee, Connie M
  • Arah, Onyebuchi A
  • Kalantar-Zadeh, Kamyar
  • et al.
Abstract

It has been previously reported that a higher erythropoiesis stimulating agent (ESA) dose in hemodialysis patients is associated with adverse outcomes including mortality; however the causal relationship between ESA and mortality is still hotly debated. We hypothesize ESA dose indeed exhibits a direct linear relationship with mortality in models of association implementing the use of a marginal structural model (MSM), which controls for time-varying confounding and examines causality in the ESA dose-mortality relationship. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 128 598 adult hemodialysis patients over a 5-year follow-up period to evaluate the association between weekly ESA (epoetin-α) dose and mortality risk. A MSM was used to account for baseline and time-varying covariates especially laboratory measures including hemoglobin level and markers of malnutrition-inflammation status. There was a dose-dependent positive association between weekly epoetin-α doses ≥18 000 U/week and mortality risk. Compared to ESA dose of <6 000 U/week, adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.02 (0.94-1.10), 1.08 (1.00-1.18), 1.17 (1.06-1.28), 1.27 (1.15-1.41), and 1.52 (1.37-1.69) for ESA dose of 6 000 to <12 000, 12 000 to <18 000, 18 000 to <24 000, 24 000 to <30 000, and ≥30 000 U/week, respectively. High ESA dose may be causally associated with excessive mortality, which is supportive of guidelines which advocate for conservative management of ESA dosing regimen in hemodialysis patients.

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