Many patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) are anaemic. This anaemia is associated with more severe CHF and a higher incidence of mortality, hospitalisation and morbidity. The only way to prove that the anaemia is causing this worsening of CHF is to correct it. We review here some of the published papers about correction of anaemia. Many studies show a positive effect of Erythropoietin (EPO) or its' derivatives when administered in combination with oral or IV iron, with improvements in left and right ventricular systolic and diastolic function, dilation and hypertrophy and renal function. In addition, a reduction in hospitalisations, diuretic dose, pulmonary artery pressure, plasma volume, heart rate, serum Brain Natriuretic Peptide levels, the inflammatory marker Interleukin 6, soluble Fas ligand - a mediator of apoptosis, and improvements in New York Heart Association class, exercise capacity, oxygen utilization, caloric intake, Quality of Life and the activity of Endothelial Progenitor Cells, have been observed. Iron deficiency may also play an important role in this anaemia, since improvements in CHF have also been reported following treatment with IV iron alone. However, until the ongoing large placebo-controlled studies of the EPO derivative darbepoetin or IV iron are completed, we will not know whether these treatments really influence CHF outcome.
- Heart failure
- Renal failure