This randomized controlled study was undertaken to determine the effect of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) on erythropoiesis, autologous blood collection, and allogeneic transfusion risk in elective surgery patients with low baseline hematocrits.Patients (n = 204) with low baseline hematocrits ( < or = 39%), scheduled for orthopedic surgery within 25 to 35 days, were seen every 3 to 4 days for 21 days. At each visit, 450 mL of blood was collected if the hematocrit was > or = 33 percent, and rHuEPO (600 U/kg) or placebo was administered intravenously.One hundred seventy-three patients were evaluable. The number of autologous units collected from the rHuEPO and control groups, respectively, was 4.5 +/- 1.0 and 3.0 +/- 1.1 (p < 0.001), and marrow production of red cells increased by 668 +/- 222 and 353 +/- 155 mL over and above baseline production (p < 0.05). Allogeneic blood transfusion was required by 31 percent of control and 20 percent of rHuEPO patients (p = 0.09). Excluding 8 patients who received > 6 units, 29 percent of control and 14 percent of rHuEPO patients required allogeneic blood (p = 0.015). Logistic regression modeling determined that the risk of allogeneic transfusion was reduced by rHuEPO (p = 0.025).The use of rHuEPO stimulates erythropoiesis, permits the storage of more autologous blood, and reduces allogeneic transfusion risk in patients with low hematocrits who are undergoing elective orthopedic surgery. Additional studies are necessary to determine the optimal schedules of rHuEPO administration and autologous blood collection as well as the cost-effectiveness of this strategy.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996TV89000005
View details for PubMedID 8607150