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Background: To evaluate the effect of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) in nervous system of premature infants including different dosage.

Methods: The multiple databases like Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane databases and China National Knowledge Database were used to search for the relevant studies, and full-text articles involved in the evaluation on effect of rhEPO for neurodevelopment among premature infants. Review Manager 5.2 was adopted to estimate the effects of the results among selected articles. Forest plots, sensitivity analysis and bias analysis for the articles included were also conducted.

Results: Finally, 10 eligible studies were eventually satisfied the included criteria. The results showed that rhEPO was much higher than placebo group in composite cognitive score (MD = 5.89, 95% confidential interval {CI} [1.95, 9.82], P = .003; I2 = 89%), there was no significant difference between rhEPO and placebo groups (RR = 0.93, 95% CI [0.60, 1.43], P = .74; I2 = 51%) and no difference in neurodevelopmental impairment between rhEPO and placebo was insignificant (RR = 0.55 95% CI [0.30, 1.02], P = .06). Composite cognitive score in high dose rhEPO was much higher than placebo group (MD = 10.39, 95% CI [8.84, 11.93], P < .0001, I2 = 0%) and low dose rhEPO also had higher composite cognitive score than placebo group (MD = 2.58, 95% CI [0.80, 4.37], P = .004, I2 = 11%). Limited publication bias was observed in this study.

Conclusion: Recombinant human erythropoietin might be a promotor for neurodevelopment among premature infants with limited adverse events.

Copyright (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.