A double-blind randomised controlled trial reported in the Lancet has called into question the routine use of erythropoietin (EPO) treatment of patients with traumatic brain injury. The international research study carried out in more than 600 patients across seven countries was led by Professor Alistair Nichol, UCD Professor of Critical Care Medicine at St Vincent’s University Hospital and Co-chair of the Study Management Committee based in Melbourne Australia. The group has concluded that erythropoietin does not improve functional outcome at six months as would be shown by a reduction in the number of patients with an Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS-E) measure of 4 or lower. While there are some indications that EPO treatment might reduce mortality in patients with traumatic brain injury, rigorous future investigations are required in this patient population before its routine use could be recommended.
Erythropoietin in traumatic brain injury (EPO-TBI): a double-blind randomised controlled trial. Nichol A, French C, Little L, Haddad S, Presneill J, Arabi Y, Bailey M, Cooper DJ, Duranteau J, Huet O, Mak A, McArthur C, Pettilä V, Skrifvars M, Vallance S, Varma D, Wills J, Bellomo R; EPO-TBI Investigators and the ANZICS Clinical Trials Group. Lancet. 2015 Dec 19;386(10012):2499-506