Association between early administration of high-dose erythropoietin in preterm infants and brain MRI abnormality at term-equivalent age.

Leuchter RH, Gui L, Poncet A, et al.
JAMA 2014;312:817-824.
NATA Rating :
Review by : J. Lacroix
NATA Review

Some experimental studies suggest that erythropoietin can improve the outcome of preterm infants at risk of encephalopathy of prematurity. In this double-blind multicentre randomised controlled trial, 495 preterm infants were allocated to receive high-dose erythropoietin (5 doses from within 3 hours up to 42 hours post birth) or placebo. In a subset of 165 participants, brain abnormalities were evaluated at term-equivalent with magnetic resonance imaging; abnormalities were found more frequently in the placebo group.

In this trial, MRI evaluation was a secondary outcome. Data on the primary outcome, which was neurodevelopment at 24 months, are not yet published. A larger trial with a clinically significant primary outcome measure should be conducted before erythropoietin can be recommended to improve the neurological outcomes of preterm babies.

– Jacques Lacroix

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