Robert A. Lofthouse, FRCS, Marilyn A. Boitano, MD, James R. Davis, FRCS, Riyaz H. Jinnah, MD
Preoperative Administration of Epoetin alfa to Reduce Transfusion Requirements in Elderly Patients Having Primary Total Hip or Knee Reconstruction
ABSTRACT: Avoidance of allogeneic blood transfusion is challenging in elderly patients with multiple comorbid conditions, who need major elective orthopaedic surgery. We conducted a study comparing the safety and efficacy of preoperative recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa) in patients having major elective orthopaedic surgery and in matched historical control patients. Patients aged 70 years or more undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA) were given two or three doses, respectively, of epoetin alfa (40,000 IU). They also received oral iron for 14 or 21 days. Epoetin alfa increased hemoglobin (Hb) and hematocrit (HCT) levels before surgery; 74% of control patients required blood transfusion, compared with 12.5% of patients receiving epoetin alfa. No serious adverse event was attributed to study treatment. These data indicate that epoetin alfa is safe and effective and reduces the need for allogeneic blood transfusion in elderly patients
having elective total joint replacement.