OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) in attempting to prevent anemia in acutely burned patients. DESIGN Prospective double-blind randomized study of 40 patients. METHODS Patients with burns from 25% to 65% total body surface were enrolled. r-HuEPO or a placebo was begun within 72 hours of admission. Cell blood count, reticulocyte counts, transfusion requirements, and blood
loss were measured. Comparison was carried out by the unpaired t test. MAIN RESULTS There was no statistically significant difference in hemoglobin, hematocrit, reticulocyte count, ferritin, serum iron, total iron blinding capacity, or transfusion requirements. In patients with burns from 25% to 35%, the reticulocyte counts were statistically significantly higher. CONCLUSION In our work the administration of r-HuEPO in acutely burned patients did not prevent the development of postburn anemia or decrease transfusion requirements. Increased erythropoiesis in smaller burns (25% to 35%) was observed and may indicate a reason for further study.