Document Detail

Early versus late erythropoietin for preventing red blood cell transfusion in preterm and/or low birth weight infants.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23076909     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Low plasma levels of erythropoietin (EPO) in preterm infants provide a rationale for the use of EPO to prevent or treat anaemia.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness and safety of early versus late initiation of EPO in reducing red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in preterm and/or low birth weight (LBW) infants.
SEARCH METHODS: The standard search of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group (CNRG) was performed in 2006 and updated in 2009. Updated search in September 2009 as follows: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (search via PubMed), CINAHL and EMBASE were searched from 2005 to September 2009. The searches were repeated in March 2012. The Pediatric Academic Societies' Annual meetings were searched electronically from 2000 to 2012 at Abstracts2View(TM) as were clinical trials registries (;; and
SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials enrolling preterm or LBW infants less than eight days of age.
INTERVENTION: Early initiation of EPO (initiated at less than eight days of age) versus late initiation of EPO (initiated at eight to 28 days of age).
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: The standard methods of the CNRG were followed. Weighted treatment effects included typical risk ratio (RR), typical risk difference (RD), number needed to treat to benefit (NNTB), number needed to treat to harm (NNTH) and mean difference (MD), all with 95% confidence intervals (CI). A fixed-effect model was used for meta-analyses and heterogeneity was evaluated using the I-squared (I(2)) test.
MAIN RESULTS: No new trials were identified in March of 2012. Two high quality randomised double-blind controlled studies enrolling 262 infants were identified. A non-significant reduction in the 'Use of one or more RBC transfusions' [two studies 262 infants; typical RR 0.91 (95% CI 0.78 to 1.06); typical RD -0.07 (95% CI -0.18 to 0.04; I(2) = 0% for both RR and RD] favouring early EPO was noted. Early EPO administration resulted in a non-significant reduction in the "number of transfusions per infant" compared with late EPO [typical MD - 0.32 (95% CI -0.92 to 0.29)]. There was no significant reduction in total volume of blood transfused per infant or in the number of donors to whom the infant was exposed. Early EPO led to a significant increase in the risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) (all stages) [two studies, 191 infants; typical RR 1.40 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.86); typical RD 0.16 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.29); NNTH 6 (95% CI 3 to 33)]. There was high heterogeneity for this outcome (I(2) = 86% for RR and 81% for RD). Both studies (191 infants) reported on ROP stage ≥ 3. No statistically significant increase in risk was noted [typical RR 1.56 (95% CI 0.71 to 3.41); typical RD 0.05 (-0.04 to 0.14)] There was no heterogeneity for this outcome (0% for both RR and RD). No other important favourable or adverse neonatal outcomes or side effects were reported.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The use of early EPO did not significantly reduce the 'Use of one or more RBC transfusions' or the 'Number of transfusions per infant" compared with late EPO administration. The finding of a statistically significant increased risk of ROP (any grade) and a similar trend for ROP stage ≥ 3 with early EPO treatment is of great concern.
Sanjay M Aher; Arne Ohlsson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Meta-Analysis; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Review     Date:  2012-10-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Cochrane database of systematic reviews     Volume:  10     ISSN:  1469-493X     ISO Abbreviation:  Cochrane Database Syst Rev     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-18     Completed Date:  2012-11-16     Revised Date:  2014-07-31    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100909747     Medline TA:  Cochrane Database Syst Rev     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  CD004865     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Age Factors
Anemia, Neonatal / prevention & control*
Erythrocyte Transfusion / utilization*
Erythropoietin / administration & dosage*,  adverse effects,  blood
Infant, Low Birth Weight / blood*
Infant, Newborn
Infant, Premature / blood*
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Retinopathy of Prematurity / etiology
Reg. No./Substance:
Update Of:
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(3):CD004865   [PMID:  16856063 ]

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