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Annals of Pharmacotherapy



Objective: To assess the use of oral iron, intravenous (IV) iron, and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) for the prevention and management of perioperative anemia in elective orthopedic surgery patients, and to provide a clinical algorithm for use. Data Sources: A PubMed and MEDLINE search was conducted from 1964 through March 2016 using the following search terms alone or in combination: orthopedic, surgery, elective, anemia, blood transfusion, iron, erythropoiesisstimulating agents, and erythropoietin. Study Selection and Data Extraction: All English-language prospective and retrospective human studies and meta-analyses evaluating oral iron, IV iron, or ESA alone or in combination in elective orthopedic surgery patients were evaluated, provided they reported blood transfusion outcomes. Data Synthesis: A total of 9 prospective and retrospective studies and 1 meta-analysis were identified and included. In the preoperative setting, administration of oral iron, IV iron, or ESA alone or in combination to correct underlying anemia led to significantly reduced transfusion rates. Transfusion requirements were generally less with combination therapy (ESA + oral or IV iron). In the short-term perioperative or postoperative period, use of oral or IV iron led to conflicting results, with some reporting a statistically significant reduction in blood transfusions, whereas others reported none. Conclusions: In elective orthopedic surgery, IV or oral iron with or without an ESA may provide benefit in prevention of postoperative anemia and results in blood transfusion reduction without significantly increasing the risk of adverse events. These agents should be considered at the lowest effective dose with emphasis on administration prior to planned surgery.


This is a post-print version of an article originally published in Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2016.


The version of record is available through: Sage.