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Is supplementary iron useful when preterm infants are treated with erythropoietin?
  1. F C Ridley1,
  2. J Harris1,
  3. R Gottstein, Consultant Neonatologist2,
  4. A J B Emmerson, Consultant Neonatologist3
  1. 1Medical Students, Neonatal Medical Unit, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Neonatal Medical Unit, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Neonatal Medical Unit, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, UK;anthony.emmerson@cmmc.nhs.uk

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A preterm baby on the neonatal intensive care unit develops anaemia of prematurity, requiring a blood transfusion. The parents of the baby are Jehovah’s Witnesses and do not believe in blood transfusions. They do agree to allow their baby to have recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) treatment instead. However, the clinical staff are unsure whether giving coexisting iron supplementation with rHuEPO treatment will further reduce the requirement for transfusion, and if so in what dose and form should the iron supplement be given?

Structured clinical question

In a preterm infant who is receiving rHuEPO therapy [patient], does iron supplementation [intervention] reduce the requirement for blood transfusion [outcome]? If so, what method of administration and dose [intervention] reduces it most successfully [outcome]?

Search strategy

Primary sources: Medline was searched for articles published from 1966 to 2005, Embase from 1996 to 2005, Cinahl from 1982 to 2005, and also the Cochrane Library Controlled Trials Register 1900 to 2005. The search was carried out in May 2005 using the keywords {neonate(s) or infant(s) or newborn(s) or preterm(s)} and {erythropoietin or EPO or rHuEPO or …

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