Red blood cell transfusion, hyperkalemia, And heart failure in advanced chronic kidney disease

Academic Article


  • Purpose: In recent years, the use of red blood cell (RBC) transfusion for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD)-related anemia has increased. We used the OptumInsight medical claims database to study the association between receiving a transfusion and hyperkalemia and heart failure events. Methods: Persons 18-64years of age with diagnosed stage 4 or 5 CKD (not requiring dialysis) between 2006 and 2010 were followed until their first hospitalization or emergency room visit with a diagnosis of hyperkalemia or heart failure, termination of insurance coverage, or death. We used a case-only design and conditional logistic regression to estimate rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) describing associations between RBC transfusion and the risks of hyperkalemia or heart failure. We used single (1:1) and variable (1:m) self-control matching intervals, with adjustment for time-varying confounders. Results: Seven thousand eight hundred twenty-nine individuals met our inclusion criteria; two-thirds were age 50years or older; 43% were women and 51% had diabetes. Rates of hyperkalemia and heart failure were 7.9/100 person-years (95%CI: 7.3, 8.5) and 16.3/100 person-years (95%CI: 15.5, 17.2), respectively. RBC transfusion was associated with an increased risk of both hyperkalemia (single interval matched RR=12.0, 95%CI: 1.3, 109; multiple interval matched RR=6.1, 95%CI: 2.5, 15.1) and heart failure (single interval matched RR=1.7, 95%CI: 0.3, 9.2; multiple interval matched RR=3.8, 95%CI: 1.4, 10.3). Conclusion: In patients with advanced CKD, RBC transfusion appears to be associated with an elevated risk of hyperkalemia and heart failure; further investigation into these risks is warranted.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gill K; Fink JC; Gilbertson DT; Monda KL; Muntner P; Lafayette RA; Petersen J; Chertow GM; Bradbury BD
  • Start Page

  • 654
  • End Page

  • 662
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 6