Surgical prescription of epoetin alfa in contemporary total hip arthroplasty: a prospective comparative studyHourlier, H., Fennema, P.
Pre-operative anaemia treatment has been associated with reduced morbidity in joint arthroplasty. This study examined the impact of a surgical prescription of epoetin (EPO) in contemporary total hip arthroplasty (THA).
We conducted a comparative study in a series of 1402 primary THAs performed in patients all having a pre-operative haemoglobin (Hb) level documented four to eight weeks before THA surgery. In group A (647 hips), one subcutaneous injection of 40,000 IU EPO once a week for four weeks was prescribed at the discretion of anaesthetist during the pre-operative visit in patients with pre-operative Hb between 10 and 13 g/dl. In group S comprising the remaining 755 hips, an amended EPO therapy including two injections of 20,000 to 40,000 IU was prescribed by the surgeon in patients with Hb less than 12 g/dl deemed at high risks to be transfused following THA. Primary study endpoint was the bleeding index (BI).
EPO therapy was delivered in 43 patients (6.7%) in group A and in 26 patients (3.4%) in group S (p = 0.006). The mean total dose of EPO administrated was 115,349 IU in group A versus 75,200 IU in group S (p < 0.001). The mean BI were 2.7 ± 1.0 in group A and 2.8 ± 1.0 g/dl in group S (p = 0.375). No patient was blood-transfused up to post-operative day seven in group S versus five patients in group A (p = 0.021).
The amended protocol does not lead to increased peri-operative bleeding. Advances in intra-operative methods to reduce the bleeding allow changing indications of EPO in patients undergoing THA with a low level of Hb.