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Effect of single recombinant human erythropoietin injection on transfusion requirements in preoperatively anemic patients undergoing valvular heart surgery.

 Young-Chul Yoo ; Jae-Kwang Shim ; Young-Lan Kwak ; Jong-Hoon Lee ; Youn-Yi Jo ; Jong-Chan Kim 
 Anesthesiology, Vol.115(5) : 929~937, 2011 
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BACKGROUND: The authors investigated the effect of a single preoperative bolus of erythropoietin on perioperative transfusion requirement and erythropoiesis in patients with preoperative anemia undergoing valvular heart surgery. METHODS: In this prospective, single-site, single-blinded, randomized, and parallel-arm controlled trial, 74 patients with preoperative anemia were randomly allocated to either the erythropoietin or the control group. The erythropoietin group received 500 IU/kg erythropoietin and 200 mg iron sucrose intravenously 1 day before the surgery. The control group received an equivalent volume of normal saline. The primary endpoint was transfusion requirement assessed during the surgery and for 4 days postoperatively. Reticulocyte count and iron profiles were measured serially and compared preoperatively and on postoperative days 1, 2, 4, and 7. RESULTS: Transfusion occurred in 32 patients (86%) of the control group versus 22 patients (59%) of the erythropoietin group (P = 0.009). The mean number of units of packed erythrocytes transfused per patient during the surgery and for 4 postoperative days (mean ± SD) was also significantly decreased in the erythropoietin group compared with the control group (3.3 ± 2.2 vs.. 1.0 ± 1.1 units/patient, P = 0.001). The reticulocyte count was significantly greater in the erythropoietin group at postoperative days 4 (P = 0.001) and 7 (P = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: A single intravenous administration of erythropoietin and an iron supplement 1 day before surgery significantly reduced the perioperative transfusion requirement in anemic patients undergoing valvular heart surgery, implicating its potential role as a blood conservation strategy.
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