Erythropoietin in traumatic brain injury (EPO-TBI): a double-blind randomised controlled trial
BACKGROUND Erythropoietin might have neurocytoprotective effects. In this trial, we studied its effect on neurological recovery, mortality, and venous thrombotic events in patients with traumatic brain injury. METHODS Erythropoietin in Traumatic Brain Injury (EPO-TBI) was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial undertaken in 29 centres (all university-affiliated teaching hospitals) in seven countries (Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia). Within 24 h of brain injury, 606 patients were randomly assigned by a concealed web-based computer-generated randomisation schedule to erythropoietin (40,000 units subcutaneously) or placebo (09% sodium chloride subcutaneously) once per week for a maximum of three doses. Randomisation was stratified by severity of traumatic brain injury (moderate vs severe) and participating site. With the exception of designated site pharmacists, the site dosing nurses at all sites, and the pharmacists at the central pharmacy in France, all study personnel, patients, and patients' relatives were masked to treatment assignment. The primary outcome, assessed at 6 months by modified intention-to-treat analysis, was improvement in the patients' neurological status, summarised as a reduction in the proportion of patients with an Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS-E) of 1-4 (death, vegetative state, and severe disability). Two equally spaced preplanned interim analyses were done (after 202 and 404 participants were enrolled). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00987454. FINDINGS Between May 3, 2010, and Nov 1, 2014, 606 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to erythropoietin (n=308) or placebo (n=298). Ten of these patients (six in the erythropoietin group and four in the placebo group) were lost to follow up at 6 months; therefore, data for the primary outcome analysis was available for 596 patients (302 in the erythropoietin group and 294 in the placebo group). Compared with placebo, erythropoietin did not reduce the proportion of patients with a GOS-E level of 1-4 (134 [44%] of 302 patients in the erythropoietin group vs 132 [45%] of 294 in the placebo group; relative risk [RR] 099 [95% CI 083-118], p=090). In terms of safety, erythropoietin did not significantly affect 6-month mortality versus placebo (32 [11%] of 305 patients had died at 6 months in the erythropoietin group vs 46 [16%] of 297 [16%] in the placebo group; RR 068 [95% CI 044-103], p=007) or increase the occurrence of deep venous thrombosis of the lower limbs (48 [16%] of 305 vs 54 [18%] of 298; RR 087 [95% CI 061-124], p=044). INTERPRETATION Following moderate or severe traumatic brain injury, erythropoietin did not reduce the number of patients with severe neurological dysfunction (GOS-E level 1-4) or increase the incidence of deep venous thrombosis of the lower limbs. The effect of erythropoietin on mortality remains uncertain. FUNDING The National Health and Medical Research Council and the Transport Accident Commission.Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Albumin resuscitation for traumatic brain injury: is intracranial hypertension the cause of increased mortality?
Journal of Neurotrauma. 2013;30((7):):512-8.
Mortality is higher in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) resuscitated with albumin compared with saline, but the mechanism for increased mortality is unknown. In patients from the Saline vs. Albumin Fluid Evaluation (SAFE) study with TBI who underwent intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring, interventional data were collected from randomization to day 14 to determine changes in ICP (primary outcome) and in therapies used to treat increased ICP. Pattern mixture modelling, designed to address informative dropouts, was used to compare temporal changes between the albumin and saline groups, and 321 patients were identified, of whom 164 (51.1%) received albumin and 157 (48.9%) received saline. There was a significant linear increase in mean ICP and significantly more deaths in the albumin group compared with saline when ICP monitoring was discontinued during the first week (1.30+0.33 vs. -0.37+0.36, p=0.0006; and 34.4% vs. 17.4%; p=0.006 respectively), but not when monitoring ceased during the second week (-0.08+0.44 vs. -0.23+0.38, p=0.79; and 18.6% vs. 12.1%; p=0.36 respectively). There were statistically significant differences in the mean total daily doses of morphine (-0.42+0.07 vs. -0.66+0.0, p=0.0009), propofol (-0.45+0.11 vs. -0.76+0.11; p=0.034) and norepinephrine (-0.50+0.07 vs. -0.74+0.07) and in temperature (0.03+0.03 vs. 0.16+0.03; p=0.0014) between the albumin and saline groups when ICP monitoring ceased during the first week. The use of albumin for resuscitation in patients with severe TBI is associated with increased ICP during the first week. This is the most likely mechanism of increased mortality in these patients.
A pilot feasibility trial of allocation of freshest available red blood cells versus standard care in critically ill patients
BACKGROUND Prolonged storage of red blood cells (RBCs) may increase posttransfusion adverse events in critically ill patients. We aimed to evaluate in intensive care unit (ICU) patients 1) the feasibility of allocating freshest available compatible RBCs versus standard care and 2) the suitability of this approach in the design of a large randomized controlled trial (RCT). STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS Eligible patients from two adult ICUs were randomly assigned to receive either the freshest available compatible RBCs or the standard care (the oldest compatible available RBCs) for all transfusions during their ICU stay. Study group allocation was concealed from patients and bedside clinicians, but the transfusion service was unblinded. The study endpoints were the feasibility of the study procedures, including success of the ICU Web randomization, the ICU staff blinding, and the correct delivery of the RBC units by the transfusion service in accordance with the allocated study group. In addition, we measured the difference in age of RBC units between the two groups. RESULTS During a 3-month period, 177 RBC units were delivered to 51 patients. All study procedures, including randomization, blinding, and delivery of blood in accordance with the study group were successful. The mean (+/-SD) of the mean age of the RBC received by each patient was lower in the "fresher blood" group compared with the standard care group (12.1 [+/-3.8] days vs. 23 [+/-8.4] days; p<0.001). CONCLUSION Randomized delivery of the freshest available RBCs versus standard care to ICU patients who were prescribed transfusion for clinical reasons is feasible, with a clinically relevant degree of storage duration separation achievable between the two study groups. These findings support the feasibility of a future large pragmatic RCT. 2011 American Association of Blood Banks.