Patients with congestive heart failure that also report anemia are about 1/3 of all CHF patients. This is a striking number of patients, and most of the time this has to do with the chronic kidney insufficiency that presents within congestive heart failure. When the kidneys are not functioning at their optimal capacity, there is renal vasoconstriction reducing the amount of erythropoietin. EPO is the precursor of the formation of red blood cells which carry oxygen to the rest of the body. When there isn’t as much EPO, there is less red blood cells causing anemia.
When this occurs, this also can cause a reduction in the function of the cardiac tissue due to stress, reduced blood flow, and fluid retention. This becomes a cycle where the heart is further damaged, leading to worse kidney function, which in turn leads to anemia.
The term to represent this cycle is cardio renal anemia syndrome, and these patients are at more risk for repeat hospitalizations and dialysis. It’s important that we monitor these patients more closely.
We have a study going for patients that present with these complications, and if you or someone you know is battling congestive heart failure with anemia then we would love to talk to them about the possibility of participation in one of our trials.