WEDNESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- A single high dose of human recombinant erythropoietin (HRE) administered two days before cardiac surgery is associated with reduced need for transfused blood, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, held from May 4 to 8 in Minneapolis.
Luca Weltert, M.D., from the European Hospital in Rome, and colleagues conducted a randomized prospective study involving approximately 600 patients undergoing cardiac operations. Patients in the HRE group received a receptor-saturating dose of 80,000 international units administered in a bolus two days before surgery.
The researchers found that patients in the HRE group needed significantly less blood than controls (0.39 versus 1.12 blood units per patient; risk ratio, 0.338). On postoperative day four, the mean hemoglobin level in the HRE group was 10.21 ± 0.68 g/dL, which was significantly higher than the 9.02 ± 0.92 g/dL in the control group. There was no significant difference in the rate of major non-fatal adverse events (4.10 and 4.7 percent for the HRE and control group, respectively) or in the rate of death (2.92 and 3.42 percent, respectively).
"HRE therapy remains a viable, yet underused option, a milestone in the 'bloodless story,'" Weltert said in a statement. "In the past its role was predominantly in association with preoperative autologous blood donation, while in the present its role has to be focused on the management of perioperative anemia."