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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2000 November;48(11):341-8

language: English, Italian

Elective coronary and valve surgery without blood transfusion in patients treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin-alpha)

Podestà A., Carmagnini E., Parodi E., Dottori V., Crivellari R., Barberis L., Audo A., Lijoi A., Passerone G.


Background. This study evaluates the real effectiveness of epoetin-a associated with ferrous sulphate, in reducing blood transfusion in patients undergoing elective open heart surgery not treated with autologous donation.
Methods. Sixty patients had been divided into 2 groups: group A (30 patients) treated with 525 mg ferrous sulphate three time a day per os for 3 weeks; group B (30 patients) treated with epoetin-a 10,000 UI twice a week and 525 mg ferrous sulphate 3 times a day. Grouping of patients has been randomized. In both groups hemoglobin, hematocrit, reticulocytes, iron values, ferritine, transferrine, and serological values, have been evaluated sequentially before treatment, before surgery, day of operation, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th postoperative days and at discharge.
Results. In group A 86% patients needed blood transfusion (26 out of 30); in group B only 3% of patients needed blood transfusion (1 patient). One year follow up didn't show side effects related to epoetin-a.
Conclusions. This study confirms the real effectiveness of epoetin-a in reducing the postoperative need for homologous blood transfusion. No side effects due to epoetin-a treatment have been proved. The conclusion is drawn that epoetin-a can be used as an alternative to bood transfusion or in association with predeposit and in the treatment of basal anemia.

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