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Anesth Analg. 2003 Aug;97(2):323-32, table of contents.

Diaspirin-crosslinked hemoglobin reduces blood transfusion in noncardiac surgery: a multicenter, randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial.

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Department of General Anesthesiology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


In this randomized, prospective, double-blinded clinical trial, we sought to investigate whether diaspirin-crosslinked hemoglobin (DCLHb) can reduce the perioperative use of allogeneic blood transfusion. One-hundred-eighty-one elective surgical patients were enrolled at 19 clinical sites from 1996 to 1998. Selection criteria included anticipated transfusion of 2-4 blood units, aortic repair, and major joint or abdomino-pelvic surgery. Once a decision to transfuse had been made, patients received initially up to 3 250-mL infusions of 10% DCLHb (n = 92) or 3 U of packed red blood cells (PRBCs) (n = 89). DCLHb was infused during a 36-h perioperative window. On the day of surgery, 58 of 92 (64%; confidence interval [CI], 54%-74%) DCLHb-treated patients received no allogeneic PRBC transfusions. On Day 1, this number was 44 of 92 (48%; CI, 37%-58%) and decreased further until Day 7, when it was 21 of 92 (23%; CI, 15%-33%). During the 7-day period, 2 (1-4) units of PRBC per patient were used in the DCLHb group compared with 3 (2-4) units in the control patients (P = 0.002; medians and 25th and 75th percentiles). Mortality (4% and 3%, respectively) and incidence of suffering at least one serious adverse event (21% and 15%, respectively) were similar in DCLHb and PRBC groups. The incidence of jaundice, urinary side effects, and pancreatitis were more frequent in DCLHb patients. The study was terminated early because of safety concerns. Whereas the side-effect profile of modified hemoglobin solutions needs to be improved, our data show that hemoglobin solutions can be effective at reducing exposure to allogeneic blood for elective surgery.


In a randomized, double-blinded red blood cell controlled, multicenter trial, diaspirin-crosslinked hemoglobin spared allogeneic transfusion in 23% of patients undergoing elective noncardiac surgery. The observed side-effect profile indicates a need for improvement in hemoglobin development.

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