Researchers from Monash University presented significant research findings on TBI mortality at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) congress in Berlin and published concurrently in the Lancet medical journal and published concurrently in the Lancet medical journal. The double-blind placebo-controlled trial was undertaken at 29 university-affiliated teaching hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia over a five-year period. The results of the phase III clinical trial of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) in critically ill patients with TBI revealed a statistically significant reduction in mortality for TBI patients who were administered EPO. EPO is a naturally occurring hormone made in the kidney. Its primary function it to stimulate the development of red blood cells, however it has other effects that may assist the body’s ability to recover from trauma.
While this international trial study did not demonstrate any increase in the number of patients at six months with little or moderate disability, an unexpected and substantial (5 per cent absolute, 30 per cent relative) reduction in death was observed. “Our results have broad implications, however additional research is required to understand that mechanisms by which EPO may save lives and the quality of life of survivors before its routine use can be advised.”