Scenario 11: Anemia of Chronic Disease (ACD)

A 49-year-old man with a 22-year history of severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) presents to clinic for his preadmission testing (PAT) and medical clearance for a planned right total hip arthroplasty. The patient had been severely limited in ambulation due to the RA. Current medications include prednisone 20 mg po qd and methotrexate 7.5 mg Thursdays, 5mg Fridays, and 7.5 mg Saturdays.  The patient had a complete blood count (CBC) with manual differentiation and red blood cell indices, complete metabolic panel (CMP) and coagulation studies (prothrombin time [PT], international normalized ratio [INR] and activated partial thromboplastin time [aPTT]). All the laboratory studies come back within normal limits except for the red blood cell indices. The hemoglobin and hematocrit were low along with mean corpuscle volume, plasma iron and total iron binding capacity, and transferrin also being low. There was a normal reticulocyte count, normal ferritin, serum B12, folate and bilirubin.

The APRN in the PAT clinic recognizes that the patient has anemia of chronic disease (ACD).

Question 1 of 2:

What is ACD and how does it develop?

Question 2 of 2:

Why do patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) develop ACD?