With the use of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' ESRD Clinical Performance Measures Project (October through December 1999 and 2000) linked with US Renal Data System hospitalization and mortality records, whether achieving adult target hemoglobin (Hb) levels in adolescents who are on hemodialysis (HD) was associated with decreased risk for death or hospitalization was assessed. Of 677 adolescents, 238 were hospitalized and 54 died. In bivariate analysis, 11.7% with Hb <11 g/dl at study entry died versus 5% of those with initial Hb ≥11 g/dl (P = 0.001); 40.3% with baseline Hb <11 g/dl were hospitalized versus 31.1% with initial Hb ≥11 g/dl (P = 0.013). In multivariate analysis, Hb ≥11 g/dl was associated with decreased risk for death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.20 to 0.72) but did not show a statistically significant association with decreased risk for hospitalization (HR 0.87; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.15). When Hb was recategorized as Hb <10, ≥10 and <11, ≥11 and ≤12, and >12 g/dl, risk of mortality declined as Hb level increased. At Hb 11 to 12 g/dl (versus Hb <10 g/dl), mortality risk decreased by 69% (HR 0.31; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.65). Risk for mortality was similar for Hb 11 to 12 and >12 g/dl. For hospitalization, no statistically significant difference in risk between Hb categories was found. This observational study of adolescents who are on HD is consistent with adult literature showing decreased mortality in patients who have ESRD and meet adult Hb targets. Further studies in the form of randomized, clinical trials are needed to assess optimal Hb levels for adolescents who are on HD.
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