Diagnosing anaemia in people with chronic kidney disease

Diagnosing anaemia in people with chronic kidney disease

If your symptoms suggest you might have anaemia, or if you have anaemia but it's not known if it's caused by chronic kidney disease, you should be offered tests to investigate this. Your anaemia specialist should explain any tests you may have and what the results mean. The table below describes the various blood tests you may have. How often you are tested, what test you might be offered and your response to treatment will depend on your symptoms and your stage of chronic kidney disease.

Blood tests for diagnosing anaemia in chronic kidney disease

Test

What does it measure?

What is it used for?

Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)

How the kidneys are working

To help find out whether or not the anaemia is caused by chronic kidney disease

Haemoglobin (Hb) level

How much haemoglobin is in red blood cells (haemoglobin carries oxygen)

To help find out whether the anaemia needs to be treated

Percentage of hypochromic red cells

The number of red blood cells that don't have enough haemoglobin

To show whether you have low levels of iron and would benefit from iron therapy

Reticulocyte haemoglobin content

The level of haemoglobin in immature red blood cellsa

If the tests 'percentage of hypochromic red cells' and 'reticulocyte haemoglobin content' are not available you should be offered the test below.

Serum ferritin and transferrin combination

How much iron is in the blood

To show whether you have low levels of iron and would benefit from iron therapy

a Immature red blood cells are red blood cells that are developing in the bone marrow.

Questions to ask about being diagnosed with anaemia

  • What is the cause of my anaemia?

  • How might anaemia make me feel?

  • Can you give me more details about the tests I should have?

  • What do these tests involve?

  • What do the test results mean?

  • Can you direct me to some support organisations in my local area?

  • Can you provide information for my family/carer?

  • Is my anaemia curable?

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