Erythropoietin in the critically ill: do we ask the right questions?
1 Sektion Anästhesiologische Pathophysiologie, Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Universitätsklinikum, Helmholtzstrasse 8-1, 89081 Ulm, Germany
2 Abteilung Pathologie, Universitätsklinikum, Albert-Einstein-Allee 23, 89081 Ulm, Germany
3 Centre for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, William Harvey Research Institute, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK
Critical Care 2012, 16:319 doi:10.1186/cc11430Published: 26 September 2012
There is a plethora of experimental data on the potential therapeutic benefits of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) and its synthetic derivatives in critical care medicine, in particular in ischemia/reperfusion injury. Most of the recent clinical trials have not shown clear benefits, and, in some patients, EPO-aggravated morbidity and mortality was even reported. Treatment with rhEPO has been successfully used in patients with anemia resulting from chronic kidney disease, but even a subset of this patient population does not adequately respond to rhEPO therapy. The following viewpoint uses rhEPO as an example to highlight the possible pitfalls in current practice using young healthy animals for the evaluation of therapies to treat patients of variable age and underlying chronic co-morbidity.