Haemoglobin based blood substitutes raise risk of myocardial infarction and death

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:977
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Haemoglobin based blood substitutes are associated with a nearly threefold increase in the risk of myocardial infarction and a 30% higher risk of death in comparison with other solutions used in blood replacement, concludes a meta-analysis published this week.

The authors of the study, published in JAMA (doi: 10.1001/jama.299.19.jrv80007), argue that if the results of individual trials had been made public as they became available to researchers, patients may not have experienced adverse events in subsequent studies.

No further phase III studies of the products should be carried out for the time being, say commentators in an accompanying editorial (doi: 10.1001/jama.299.19.jed80027).

A large proportion of blood substitutes—products with a long shelf life that can be used to replace blood lost by trauma patients or patients undergoing surgery—currently in development are based on haemoglobin.

Even though early trials raised questions about the safety …

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