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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


ROCHA, Vera Lúcia L.; BENJAMIN, Ana Cláudia W.  and  PROCIANOY, Renato S.. The effect of recombinant human erythropoietin on the treatment of anemia of prematurity. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2001, vol.77, n.2, pp.75-83. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: to assess the efficacy of erythropoietin in the prevention and treatment of anemia of prematurity, correlating the use of this drug with weight gain, length, and head circumference and comparing two administration schemes of he same weekly dose: daily use and twice a week. METHODS: the study comprised 42 premature newborns with gestational age up to 33 weeks, birthweight up to 1550 g, and postnatal age between 10 and 35 days. The newborns were randomized into three groups: patients in group 1 received seven daily doses of 100 U/kg erythropoietin per week; patients in group 2 received two 350 U/kg erythropoietin doses per week; and patients in group 3 did not receive the drug. Hematologic measurements, blood transfusion requirements, and growth rates were followed during therapy. RESULTS: cases and controls did not differ with respect to weight, length, head circumference, and total time of hospital stay. At the end of the study, no significant difference was observed in the platelet count measurement means, white blood cell count, and ferritin levels in the three groups. However, the final hematocrit and hemoglobin values of patients who did not receive erythropoietin were significantly lower than those of patients who received the drug. The absolute reticulocyte count mean was significantly higher in patients who received erythropoietin after two weeks of treatment when compared with those patients who did not receive the drug. Patients in group 1 e 2 received fewer excessive transfusions (2 or more) than patients in group 3. The administration of 700 U/kg/week erythropoietin significantly reduced the number of excessive blood transfusions. There is no significant difference in blood transfusion volume between patients who received erythropoietin on a daily basis and those who received the drug twice weekly. CONCLUSIONS: the use of erythropoietin did not influence weight gain and growth. The administration of 700 U/kg/week erythropoietin in premature infants with gestational age up to 33 weeks and birthweight up to 1550 g stimulates erythropoiesis and significantly reduces excessive blood transfusion requirements. Erythropoietin showed to be a safe and well tolerated medication, with no short-term side effects in the study population.

Keywords : erythropoietin; anemia of prematurity; transfusion; premature.

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