Recombinant human erythropoietin and blood transfusion in low-birth weight preterm infants under restrictive transfusion guidelines

Editorial: Saudi Med J.
Fecha: 01/06/2006
Badiee Z, Pourmirzaiee MA, Kelishadi R, Naseri F.
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Isfahan University of Medical Science,

OBJECTIVE: To compare the number and volume of red blood cell transfusions (RBCTs) in very low birth weight infants under restrictive red blood cell transfusion guidelines with and without erythropoietin administration. METHODS: In a controlled clinical trial conducted at the neonatal intensive care unit of Alzahra Hospital, Isfahan, Iran, between April 2002 to April 2004, 60 premature infants with gestational age up to 34 weeks, birth weight up to 1500 g, and postnatal age between 8 and 14 days were included. The newborns were randomized into 2 groups: Group 1 received 3 doses of 400 IU/kg erythropoietin per week for 6 weeks, and Group 2 received no treatment aside from their conventional medications. RESULTS: The 2 groups did not differ significantly with respect to their mean gestational age, birth weight and hematocrit at the study entry. Fewer transfusions were administered to those receiving erythropoietin (26.7% versus 50%, p=0.03), but there was no statistically significant difference between groups with respect to volume of transfusion. Compared with the placebo group, the infants receiving erythropoietin had a higher mean hematocrit (34% +/- 4.3 versus 29% +/- 5.9, p<0.001) and absolute reticulocyte count (57 +/- 19 versus 10 +/- 4.8 x 106, p<0.001) at the end of the study. We found no significant difference in the incidence of thrombocytopenia and leukopenia between the 2 groups. CONCLUSION: We conclude that when the restrictive RBCT guidelines were followed, treatment with erythropoietin can be useful in reduction of the number of RBCTs

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