Patient Perceptions of CKD Anemia Burden and Treatment

Washington, DC—Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who develop anemia may have reduced quality of life and require additional treatment. Eirini Palaka, MSc, and colleagues at AstraZeneca and Yale University conducted a study to examine the perceptions of patients with CKD and anemia in the United States regarding quality of life, understanding of their disease, and management of their anemia. Results of the study were reported during a poster session at Kidney Week 2019 in a poster titled Understanding Patient Perspectives of the Impact, Awareness, and Treatment of CKD Anemia: A US Patient Survey.

From August through September 2018, a quantitative online survey was administered to 500 patients with self-reported CKD with or without anemia. Eligible patients were ≥18 years of age; patients with cancer were excluded. Patients were recruited via open requests to online communities and support groups, patient associations, and patient referrals. The survey was designed to explore patient knowledge of anemia and its management, the impact of anemia symptoms, and quality of life for patients with CKD and anemia. Patient confidentiality was protected by aggregation and anonymization of the data.

Of the total cohort, 69% were female, mean age was 52.2 years, 68% reported they had CKD stages 3 to 5, and 24% had CKD stage 1 or 2 (the remaining 8% did not know what stage they had). Fifty-seven percent of the total cohort (n=255) said they had been told they had anemia by a healthcare professional. However, of those 255, only 66% (n =168) were aware of the relationship between anemia and CKD.

Only 38% of the entire cohort (n=170) knew their hemoglobin levels. Most were aware of the key symptoms of anemia; 89% cited fatigue and 70% mentioned weakness.  Symptoms reported by patients with anemia were lack of energy (82%), feeling sad/depressed (53%), noting pain (52%), difficulty sleeping (53%), and worry over anemia worsening (63%).

Sixty-seven percent of patients said their anemia was well managed: 55% of those treated were treated with iron; 30% were treated with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents; and 11% had received transfusions. Fewer than half of the respondents felt confident that they knew the adverse effects of their treatment.

In summary, the researchers said, “US patients with CKD perceived that anemia had a negative impact on their physical symptoms and emotional well-being; their knowledge and understanding of CKD anemia and its management varied. These findings emphasize the challenges healthcare providers and patients face concerning the need for further education on the association between CKD and anemia, symptoms associated with anemia, and the available treatment options for anemia.

Source: Palaka E, Guzman NJ, Dunn A, Wittbrodt ET, Grandy S, Finkelstein FO. Understanding patient perspectives of the impact, awareness, and treatment of CKD anemia: A US patient survey. Abstract of a poster presented during the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2019 (Abstract SA-PO232), November 9, 2019, Washington, DC.

Funding for this study was provided by AstraZeneca.