Policy changes and impact rises: Erythropoietin Payment Policy on Cardiovascular Outcomes of Peritoneal Dialysis Patients
Background and Purposes The change in reimbursement policy of erythropoietin application to peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients by Taiwan National Health Insurance (NHI) system provided a natural experimental venue to examine whether cardiovascular risk differs while keeping hematocrit (Hct) below 30% or over 30%. This study intended to analyze the impact of loosening erythropoietin payment criteria for PD patients on their cardiovascular outcomes. Methods Two cohorts of incident PD patients
... e and after the relaxation of NHI's erythropoietin payment criteria were identified as Cohort 1 and Cohort 2, respectively, and further matched by propensity scores and then followed up for cardiovascular events. There were 1,759 patients in Cohort 1 and 2,981 patients in Cohort 2. After propensity score matching, 1,754 subjects were selected from each cohort. The outcome measures were cardiovascular events and were analyzed through Cox regressions. Findings and Conclusion For the composite cardiovascular endpoint, Cohort 2 patients had significantly lower risk than Cohort 1. The risk reduction was observed only in diabetic patients. After loosening erythropoietin payment criteria, less cardiovascular risks were observed, particularly for diabetic patients. It is concluded that for diabetic PD patients, maintaining a Hct level higher than 30% is crucial for reducing the cardiovascular risk.