JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Effects of early human recombinant erythropoietin therapy on the transfusion in healthy preterm infants

Seyedeh Fatemeh Khatami, Gholamali Mamouri, Mohamad Torkaman
Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2008, 75 (12): 1227-30
19057854

OBJECTIVE: Early recombinant erythropoietin therapy and iron therapy would decrease the need for red blood cells transfusions and prevents anemia of prematurity.

METHODS: Fifty-eight preterm infants in newborn services at Ghaem Medical Center randomly were assigned, among them 18 patients were excluded. A total of 40 preterm infants with gestational age 28-34 weeks, birth weight 1000-1750 g followed the study: 20 infants in treatment group and 20 infants in control group were randomized to treatment (rhu EPO, 500u per kg, per week, 2 times weekly, subcutaneous) and control (no treatment). Therapy was initiated 4 days after birth and continued throughout the 4 weeks. All infants on enteral feeds received supplements: iron 3 mg/kg/d, vitamins and folat. Complete blood cells and reticulocyte counts were measured weekly. Transfusions and phlebotomy data were recorded. Statistical significance was determined by chi-square test, student t test and Mann-Whitney. A P value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: The reticulocyte counts were higher in treated infants during the study (p: 0.009). Final hematocrits were higher in treated infants (p: 0.02).The volume of packed red blood cells transfusions mililiter per infant significantly reduced (p: 0.05), the average number of transfusion per infant was also lower for treated infant than control [2 (10 % )vs 8 (40%) respectively]. No adverse effects of EPO or supplemental iron occurred.

CONCLUSION: The combination of early rhu EPO and iron as administered in the present study stimulated erythropoiesis and decreased red blood cells transfusion in premature infants who were 1000-1750 g at birth. The enrollments of the larger and healthier preterm infants, who are at lower risk for transfusion, are limitation of the present study.

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