OBJECTIVES In an effort to avoid allogeneic transfusions, many patients scheduled for radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) participate in preoperative autologous donation (PAD) programs. Yet, PAD programs are costly, time-consuming, and not without risks. Perioperative administration of recombinant human erythropoietin (Epoetin alfa) also has been shown to reduce patients exposure to allogeneic transfusion. This study sought to compare the costs and
transfusion rates associated with either PAD or perioperative Epoetin alfa in patients undergoing RRP. METHODS The study population consisted of 120 men randomized to one of two treatment groups. Patients in group 1 donated up to 3 U of autologous blood preoperatively, provided that their hematocrit (HCT) was 33% or higher. Patients in group 2 received 600 IU/kg of Epoetin alfa on days -14 and -7 preoperatively, provided that their HCT was 46% or lower. RESULTS Overall, 107 (89%) of 120 patients underwent RRP. In group 1, 5 (9.6%) of 52 patients received a total of 12 U of allogeneic blood (0.23 U/patient). In group 2, 5 (9.6%) of 52 patients received a total of 10 U of allogeneic blood (0.19 U/patient). Three patients in group 1 but no patients in group 2 experienced an adverse event. The average costs related to PAD and pharmacologic administration per patient were $540 in group 1 and $657 in group 2. Participation in PAD required an average of 5 hours more per patient compared with Epoetin alfa administration. CONCLUSIONS Preoperative Epoetin alfa therapy is safe, well tolerated, and equally effective as PAD in reducing allogeneic blood transfusion requirements. Epoetin alfa therapy also is comparable in cost to PAD and offers patients greater convenience and less of a time commitment.