Early EPO Offers Neuroprotection for Preemies: Meta-analysis
By Reuters Staff
April 10, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Early prophylactic administration of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) improves neurodevelopmental outcomes in very preterm babies, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials confirms.  However, more work is needed to figure out optimal dosing and timing of administration, the authors say in a report online April 7 in Pediatrics. Improving neurodevelopmental outcomes is a “major goal” in neonatology, especially with regard to the increasing survival rate of very premature infants, and rhEPO is one of the most promising agents to accomplish this, they point out.

Dr. Christof Dame and colleagues from the neonatology department at Charite University Medical Center in Berlin did a pooled analysis of four randomized controlled trials that investigated the use of rhEPO in preterm infants (<= 32 weeks' gestational age) and reported neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 to 24 months' corrected age. The studies were mostly of high methodological quality with a low risk of bias, they say.

Their analysis showed a significant reduction in the incidence of a Mental Developmental Index (MDI) score lower than 70 on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development with prophylactic rhEPO administration. “The beneficial effect of prophylactic rhEPO on the incidence of MDI lower than 70 at 18 to 24 months' corrected age was consistent across all studies. With an absolute risk reduction from 15.7% to 8.4% and a number needed to treat of 14 patients, the estimated effect is clinically relevant. The observed benefits of rhEPO are robust, because they are in agreement with available evidence from longer-term follow-up studies, which also reported improved cognitive outcomes,” the authors say.

Full article may be accessed at link below.
Pediatrics 2017.
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Cite this article: Early EPO Offers Neuroprotection for Preemies: Meta-analysis - Medscape - Apr 07, 2017.