Six children (aged 3 years 11 months to 15 years 9 months) with end-stage renal failure and anaemia (mean haemoglobin 7.1 g/dl, range 6.3-7.7 g/dl) on thrice-weekly haemodialysis were treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), given as an intravenous bolus in an escalating dose regime after dialysis. All responded with an increase in reticulocyte count and haemoglobin concentration in a mean time of 11 weeks (range 9-13 weeks) and at a dose of 100 or 150 units/kg thrice weekly. The dose of rHuEPO was then adjusted to maintain the haemoglobin concentration within the lower half of the normal range for the child's age and sex. The mean haemoglobin after 12 weeks treatment was 10.9 g/dl (range 8.5-12.1 g/dl) and after 24 weeks, 10.5 g/dl (range 7.9-13.3 g/dl). Four chidlren had no further need for blood transfusion and are thus no longer at risk of blood-borne infection, iron overload and sensitisation to HLA histocompatibility antigens. Serum ferritin fell in the three patients with evidence of iron overload; the three with low or normal iron stores at the onset of treatment maintained erythropoiesis with oral iron supplementation. HLA antibodies decreased in all patients. The only serious complication encountered was thrombosis of vascular access in one child. No child became seriously hypertensive or developed cerebral symptoms. The benefits of rHuEPO therapy for children with end-stage renal failure are potentially considerable and with careful monitoring, the risks low.
- End-stage renal failure
- HLA antibodies
- Iron overload
- Recombinant human erythropoietin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health