Background. Surgical procedures result in blood loss that can require replacement transfusions. Such therapy may result in multiple adverse sequelae, including transmission of infectious diseases and immune impairment. Alternative therapies are therefore desirable. Methods. We evaluated the ability of recombinant human erythropoietin (rEPO) to increase red blood cell production in both normal healthy volunteers and patients with burn injuries. The effect of rEPO on immune function in the volunteers was also evaluated. The volunteers received 150 units/kg rEPO daily for 7 days, with immune function and hematopoiesis assayed on days 0, 7, and 14. The patients with burn injuries received either 500 units/kg/day rEPO with iron supplementation or merely the iron. Results. rEPO increased erythropoiesis in both the volunteers and the patients with burn injuries. Failure to provide iron supplementation to the volunteers resulted in significant depletion of iron stores with a concomitant impairment in immune function that paralleled the iron depletion. Conclusions. rEPO therapy offers the potential to increase red blood cell production in surgical patients. Failure to provide iron supplementation in patients receiving rEPO can lead to a rapid depletion of iron stores and may contribute to an immune dysfunction.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Aug 1992|
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