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Background: Reducing the need for blood transfusion among patients undergoing cardiac surgery FLA reduce postoperative complications and mortality. Our study aimed to assess the effects of administering preoperative i.v. ferric carboxymaltose on postoperative red cell transfusion requirements in patients without anaemia undergoing on-pump cardiac surgery.

Methods: This double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial was conducted between October 2016 and November 2019, with a follow-up period of up to 6 weeks after surgery. Patients without anaemia who underwent on-pump cardiac surgery were included as participants and administered i.v. iron in the form of ferric carboxymaltose or placebo once, 24-72 h before surgery. The primary outcome was the number of red cell units transfused during the first four postoperative days, and the secondary outcome measures were blood haemoglobin concentrations at 4 days and 6 weeks after surgery.

Results: The 200 patients included were randomly assigned to the ferric carboxymaltose (n=102) and placebo (n=98) groups. By postoperative Day 4, a significantly lower mean number of red cell units were transfused in the ferric carboxymaltose than in the placebo group, 0.3 (0.8) vs 1.6 (4.4), respectively; P=0.007. The mean haemoglobin concentrations on postoperative Day 4 were 9.7 (1) g dl-1 and 9.3 (1) g dl-1, respectively (P=0.03). Corresponding values at 6 weeks after surgery were 12.6 (1.4) g dl-1 and 11.8 (1.5) g dl-1, respectively (P=0.012).

Conclusions: In patients without anaemia undergoing on-pump cardiac surgery, treatment with a single dose of 1000 mg ferric carboxymaltose i.v. 1-3 days before surgery significantly reduced the need for red cell transfusions and increased the postoperative haemoglobin concentration.

Clinical trial registration: NCT02939794.

(C) 2023 British Journal of Anaesthesia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.