Background: Autologous blood transfusion presents few infectious or immunologic side effects. The aim of the present study was to determine the impact of autologous blood transfusion with or without recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) in patients who underwent elective maxillofacial operations. Material: Seventy eight consecutive patients (29 men and 49 women) underwent elective maxillofacial operations during the years 1990-95. Study design
and Methods: The patients were randomly assigned to three groups: In group 1, 30 patients preoperatively underwent autologous blood predonation with intravenous injection of erythropoietin 600 IU/kg after each blood predonation and autologous blood transfusion intraoperatively; in group 2, 28 patients underwent the same procedure without erythropoietin and in group 3, 20 patients underwent homologous transfusion serving as control group. All patients received ferrous sulphate daily by mouth, preoperatively until one week postoperatively. Results: Group 1 patients showed higher levels of haematocrit, haemoglobin and red blood cell count pre- and postoperatively than the group 2 patients. It was also shown that the use of rHuEPO contributed to an improvement of the blood parameters of the patients in the group 1 compared with those of the patients in groups 2 and 3. Copyright 2001 European Association for Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery.