The introduction of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) markedly improved the lives of many anaemic patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In Taiwan, the strategy of management of anaemia in patients with CKD was different from many other parts of the world. In 1996, the National Health Insurance Administration of Taiwan applied a more restrictive reimbursement criteria for ESA use in patients with CKD. ESA is to be initiated when non-dialysis CKD patients have a serum creatinine >6 mg/dL and a hematocrit <28% to maintain a hematocrit level not exceeding 30%. The maximal dose of epoetin-α or β was 20 000 U per month. The target haemoglobin range and dose limitation for ESAs were the same for dialysis CKD patients. Thus, long before randomized controlled trials showing an increased risk for cardiovascular events at nearly normal haemoglobin concentrations and higher ESA doses in CKD, nephrologists in Taiwan had avoided the use of disproportionately high dosages of ESAs to achieve a haemoglobin level of 10-11 g/dL. Moreover, intravenous iron supplementation was encouraged earlier in Taiwan in 1996, when we reached consensus on the diagnostic criteria for iron deficiency (serum ferritin <300 ng/mL and/or transferrin saturation <30%). The experience of CKD anaemia management in Taiwan demonstrated that a reasonable haemoglobin target can be achieved by using the lowest possible ESA dose and intravenous iron supplementation.
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