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In this Phase II trial of erythropoietin in patients with ST-segment myocardial infarction, erythropoietin did not reduce myocardial infarct size, and was associated with an increased rate of adverse cardiovascular events, compared with placebo. In subgroup analysis, increased myocardial infarct size was seen in older patients who received erythropoietin compared with those who received placebo.
Erythropoietin is an intervention that has been shown to reduce myocardial infarct size in animal models, but has failed to do so in clinical trials. In a recent review, clinical trials of 20 different agents that markedly reduced infarct size in experimental settings, but that did not show such benefit when tested in patients, were summarized . The current report, together with other reports on erythropoietin, indicates that this agent can be added to that list.