Background/Aim: The clearest benefit of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) in end-stage renal disease is a substantial reduction in transfusion dependency and an improved quality of life. In this report, we describe the efficacy of weekly subcutaneous administration of rHuEPO in 11 elderly patients with anemia secondary to chronic renal failure. Methods: The role of rHuEPO therapy in increasing the patient’s quality of life and in decreasing the hospitalization rates secondary to cardiac morbidity was verified in 11 elderly patients (age range between 66 and 85 years) with anemia due to chronic renal failure. The mean hemoglobin level at the beginning of the study was 8.2 ± (SD) 0.7 g/dl, and the serum creatinine concentration was 4.8 ± 1.36 mg/dl. The patients underwent baseline and annual echocardiography, in addition to an electrocardiogram. Results: Most patients experienced a partial regression of left ventricular hypertrophy, and no congestive heart failure was documented. The mean hemoglobin level during rHuEPO therapy increased to 11.3 ± 1.2 g/dl, while the mean serum creatinine concentration did not change significantly. Conclusions: Our results confirm that early anemia correction in aged chronic renal failure patients permits improvement of the quality of life, of exercise performance, and of cognitive functions. Reduced transfusion need and regression of left ventricular hypertrophy favor a minor incidence of cardiac morbidity and contribute to reduce health costs.

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