Renal anaemia is a complication of your kidney disease. Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO) to stimulate the production of red blood cells. These red blood cells contain haemoglobin, which is needed to carry the oxygen from your lungs around your body. When your kidneys are not working properly, not enough EPO is produced and your body is unable to make the new red blood cells it needs.
Iron levels are often low in patients with kidney disease. This can be because there is not enough iron in the food you eat or there are problems absorbing it when food is digested. The majority of patients with kidney disease will therefore require iron replacement to help with their red blood cell production.
Once you've been referred to our anaemia nursing team, we will manage and coordinate the treatment and care you need.
Information and about us
We focus on patients with kidney disease that has not progressed to needing dialysis and kidney transplant patients.
Patients on peritoneal dialysis will have their anaemia needs monitored by their specialist doctor or nurse. Those patients on haemodialysis will be under regular review by their clinical teams.
If you have anaemia, you can be given injections of erythropoietin (EPO) to help your body produce more red blood cells. If you have an iron deficiency as well, you might need to take iron tablets or have iron given to you through an intravenous drip.
Once you've been referred to our anaemia nursing team, we will manage and coordinate the treatment and care you need. We're available for support and any questions you might have. We can provide you with all of the information you need to ensure that the treatment that you receive for your anaemia will be safe and efficient. We will also monitor your ongoing anaemia blood sample results and arrange further treatment, if required.
To contact us please call the Renal Anaemia Team on 01392 402523 or alternatively email us on rde-tr.AnaemiaService@nhs.net.
Where to find us
The main kidney unit at the RD&E is based in the Renal Day Case area (Sid Ward). The Renal Anaemia Team office is based on Renal Day Case.
We also provide appointments in various clinic locations across Devon and Somerset.
We provide clinics in the following locations:
Exeter – Renal Unit, at the main Wonford Hospital site
Barnstaple – North Devon Satellite Dialysis Unit
Honiton – East Devon Satellite Kidney Unit, Honiton Community Hospital
Taunton – Taunton Dialysis Centre
Torquay – South Devon Satellite Kidney Unit
Meet the team
The nursing team provides the day to day management and care of our renal anaemia patients with medical support from our Clinical Lead Consultant and administration support through our secretary.
- Clinical Lead – Dr Helen Clarke (Consultant)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist – Diana Jones (Non-Medical Prescriber)
- Associate Anaemia Nurse (Registered Nurse)
- Secretary - Lucie Murray
Services and treatments
We offer iron infusions and treatment with an Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agent (ESA). Both of these treatments will help raise the level of red cells in your body and improve your symptoms of anaemia.
Iron infusions involve inserting a small needle sited into the back of your hand. A drip containing iron is attached. This appointment usually takes an hour and a half.
ESA is a small injection that is given to you on a regular basis. It comes in either a syringe or pen device. Your nurse will advise you on how to do your injection at home. If you have any problems, we can talk about this at your appointment. These appointments usually take an hour.
It is important to check your red cell count and iron level regularly, via a blood sample. This helps us to make sure we are treating you safely. This can be done locally at your GP. The anaemia team will review your results on a monthly basis and make any changes to your treatment.
The Exeter Kidney Unit has a psychologist who works two days a week. We also have connections with Talkworks. Both can help patients deal with the emotional difficulties associated with long term health conditions.
We also have a very active Kidney Patients Association (KPA) who are always willing to help were they can. You can also become an active member of the KPA.
For more information on the Exeter KPA please contact:
13 Crowden Crescent,
Tel : 01884 254260
Patient information leaflets
We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital.
We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.
We have a wide range of videos which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital.
Information for healthcare professionals
Patients are referred to us via their Nephrologist or Renal Specialist Nurse. If you would like to refer a patient for treatment, please do so through the DRSS referral system. We do not provide blood transfusions; these will need to be arranged through your usual channel. Please see below document for guidance:
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