Children who were born prematurely, aged between 18-24 months corrected age (n= 2,282, 5 RCTs).
High-dose or low-dose prophylactic erythropoietin (rhEPO).
Overall, prophylactic rhEPO administration reduced the incidence of infants with a mental development index (MDI) <70, with an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 0.55 (0.38-0.79). The low-dose rhEPO subgroup was superior to the placebo subgroup, with an OR (95% CI) of 0.47 (0.25-0.87). However, high-dose rhEPO subgroup had no significant impact on MDI <70 in infants <28 weeks' gestational age. There was no significant effect of rhEPO on cerebral palsy. For neonatal complications, although four studies showed that there were no differences in the pooled results of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and intracranial haemorrhage (ICH) events between rhEPO treatment and placebo, the ICH events were significantly lower in the low-dose rhEPO (OR 0.36; 95% CI 0.23-0.59). In addition, in the pooled results of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and retinopathy of prematurity events, there were significant differences between the two groups (OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.43-0.93), (OR 0.80; 95% CI 0.65-0.98). And the NEC events were significantly lower in the low-dose rhEPO (OR 0.45; 95% CI 0.27-0.73).