Improved responsiveness to erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) in patients on on-line post-dilution hemodiafiltration (Post-HDF) compared with conventional hemodialysis (HD) was reported by some authors but challenged by others. This prospective, cross-over randomized study tested the hypothesis that an alternative infusion modality of HDF, mixed-dilution HDF (Mixed HDF), could further reduce ESAs requirement in dialysis patients compared to the traditional Post-HDF.
One-hundred-twenty prevalent patients from 6 Dialysis Centers were randomly assigned to two six-months treatment sequences: A-B and B-A (A, Mixed HDF; B, Post-HDF). Primary outcome was comparative evaluation of ESA (darbepoetin alfa) requirement and ESA resistance. Treatments efficiency, iron and vitamins status, inflammation and nutrition parameters were monitored.
In sequence A, darbepoetin requirement decreased during Mixed HDF from 29.5 to 23.7 µg/month and increased significantly during Post-HDF (32.3 µg/month at 6th month) while, in sequence B, it increased during Post-HDF from 38.2 to 43.7 µg/month and decreased during Mixed HDF (23.9 µg/month at 6th month). Overall, EPO doses at 6 months on Mixed and Post-HDF were 23.8 and 38.4 µg/month, respectively, P < 0.01. A multiple linear model confirmed that Mixed HDF vs Post-HDF reduced significantly ESA requirement and ESA resistance (P < 0.0001), by a mean of 29% (CI 23-35%) in the last three months of the observation periods.
Mixed HDF decreased darbepoetin-alfa requirement in dialysis patients. This might help preventing the untoward side effects of high ESA doses, besides having a remarkable economic impact. Additional evidence is needed to confirm this potential benefit of Mixed-HDF.