Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate, in anaemic patients, the efficacy of erythropoietin (EPO) in reducing red cell (RC) transfusion rates post TAVI.
Methods and results: This was a randomised double-blind trial. Patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis and concomitant anaemia with an indication for TAVI were randomised (1:1) to receive two weight-based doses of EPO (darbepoetin alfa)+iron or placebo at days 10 (±4 days) and 1 (±1 day) pre TAVI. The primary outcome was the rate of RC transfusions at 30 days. A total of 100 patients (mean age 81±7 years, male 49%) were included: 48 patients received EPO (+iron) and 52 patients received placebo. Baseline characteristics and procedural findings were well balanced between groups except for baseline haemoglobin levels, which were lower in those patients receiving EPO (10.7±1.2 vs. 11.3±1.1 g/dl, p=0.01). The rate of 30-day RC transfusion was similar in both groups (27.1 vs. 25.0% in the EPO and placebo groups, respectively; adjusted odds ratio 1.05, 95% CI: 0.42-2.64, p=0.92), and no differences were observed in the number of RC units per transfused patient (1 [1-3] vs. 2 [1-2] in the EPO and placebo groups, respectively, adjusted p=0.99). Rates of 30-day mortality, stroke, new-onset atrial fibrillation, acute kidney injury, and troponin peak were also similar between groups (p>0.20 for all).
Conclusions: EPO (+iron) administration failed to reduce RC transfusion rates or the per-patient number of transfusion units in anaemic patients undergoing TAVI. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02390102