STUDY DESIGN A prospective, randomized trial comparing Epoetin alfa (Procrit) with placebo saline injection to determine effectiveness in increasing erythropoietic recovery in complex spine deformity surgery. OBJECTIVES To determine if Epoetin alfa can allow preoperative autologous donation completion more effectively and reduce perioperative homologous blood transfusion. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA The use of Epoetin alfa has been studied, primarily in
the arthroplasty literature, for its effectiveness in decreasing transfusion requirements and increasing hemoglobin levels. It has not been studied in patients undergoing complex spine deformity surgery. METHODS A total of 48 patients were prospectively randomized into an Epoetin alfa group and a control group. All patients attempted to donate 4 units of preoperative autologous donation at weekly intervals; 40,000 units of Epoetin alfa were injected subcutaneously at the time of preoperative autologous donation in the Epoetin alfa group. Hematocrit levels were recorded weekly during the donation process and daily in the preoperative period. RESULTS Preoperative autologous donation was completed more effectively in the patients receiving Epoetin alfa. Epoetin alfa resulted in statistically higher hematocrit levels during preoperative autologous donation and perioperatively (P < 0.005). Homologous transfusion was decreased by 2.4 units and hospital stay was 1.8 days shorter in patients receiving Epoetin alfa. CONCLUSION Patients who received Epoetin alfa were able to complete preoperative autologous donation more effectively, increase erythropoietic recovery, decrease homologous transfusion requirements, and had shorter hospital stays.