Data through August 2013 from the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study’s Practice Monitor shows a slight dip in hemoglobin levels compared to the previous quarter, but little chance in other indicators.

The data is gathered from a sampling of 3,200 to 4,000 patients in approximately 100 to 120 hemodialysis clinics in the United States. DOPPS has been tracking changes in practice patterns since the dialysis payment bundle was introduced in January 2011.

Among the latest findings, which were presented in a web conference on Jan. 9:

  • Mean hemoglobin levels have declined only slightly from early 2012 through August 2013. Among patients treated with an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, the percent with Hgb >12 g/dL declined substantially, from 26% to 8%, while the percent with Hgb <10 g/dL increased from 9% to 19% through August 2013, DOPPS officials said.
  • From August 2010 through August 2013, mean prescribed IV epoetin dose has decreased by 38% to 12,655 units/week. Over the same time, the average administered IV epoetin dose decreased by 40% to 11,900 units/week (the decline is greater than for prescribed dose because doses are now withheld more frequently, DOPPS reports).

The Dialysis Monitor continues to show an increase in average hemodialysis session length; this has been modest but sustained, from 217 min/session in August 2010 to 220 min/session in August 2013. “This likely has contributed to the observed higher mean URR and Kt/V values, and it contrasts with the previous longer-term trend towards shorter HD treatment time in the United States during the last decade,” DOPPS officials reported during the webinar.

To view slides and listen to a recording of the Jan. 9 presentation, visit