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Erythropoetin Neuroprotection for Neonatal Cardiac Surgery

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00513240
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 8, 2007
Results First Posted : May 19, 2014
Last Update Posted : February 7, 2020
The Dana Foundation
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Dean Andropoulos, Baylor College of Medicine

Brief Summary:
Brain problems occur in neonatal open heart surgery with a frequency of 20-70%, seen on neurological examination, brain imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or long term development problems such as learning disorders and hyperactivity syndromes. This study aims to determine if erythropoetin, a natural hormone made in the body, protects the brain from damage when given in high doses before and during neonatal open heart surgery. We will use brain MRI, brain wave tests (EEG), neurological examination, and long term developmental outcome testing to see if erythropoetin is better than salt water injection (placebo) in protecting the brain.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Congenital Heart Disease Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Transposition of the Great Arteries Aortic Arch Hypoplasia or Interruption Drug: Erythropoetin Drug: Normal saline Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Hypothesis: Erythropoetin (EPO) will protect the neonatal brain in the perioperative period for congenital heart surgery.

Using a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded design, the specific aims of this study are:

  1. To determine the effect of perioperative EPO on short and long term neurological outcomes in neonates undergoing cardiac surgery with an optimized cardiopulmonary bypass strategy.
  2. To determine EPO tolerability and safety with short term administration.
  3. To determine EPO pharmacokinetics in this population.
  4. To determine the relationship of neurological monitoring, specifically NIRS, to neurological outcomes with an optimized cardiopulmonary bypass technique in neonates that avoids deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, and to determine if EPO affects this relationship.

Protocol: Neonates undergoing arterial switch, Norwood, or aortic arch advancement/other complete 2 ventricle repair, >35 weeks gestation and ≥2.0 kg are eligible.

Preop day 1:NIRS for 12-24 hours, neuro exam, and Study drug dose #1: EPO 500 units/kg or saline placebo 12-72 hours before surgery. EPO Pharmacokinetic data for 25-50 consenting patients.

Day of surgery: Brain MRI immediately preop. Anesthesia/CPB per our standard practice (fentanyl 100-200 mcg/kg, midazolam, isoflurane, epsilon-aminocaproic acid, 75 mg/kg IV load to patient and CPB prime, and 75 mg/kg/hr infusion in OR) with ACP guided by TCD, pH stat, hct 30-35, avoid DHCA.

POD #1: Study drug dose #2: EPO 500 units/kg or saline placebo 24 hours after dose #2.

For 72 hours postop, NIRS monitoring. All monitor data collected electronically.

POD #3: Study drug dose #3: EPO 500 units/kg or saline placebo 48 hours after dose #3.

7 days postop: Brain MRI. (pentobarbital IV). Neuro exam before discharge. 3-6 months: Brain MRI immediately before or after 2nd surgery, or as outpatient (IV pentobarb or propofol/midazolam-may use N2O/sevo for induction, cannot intubate if outpatient; OR if cardiac MRI at same time, any indicated anesthetic technique). NIRS x 24h after 2nd surgery.

1,and 3 years: Bayley Scales of Infant Development III. 5 years: Battery of neurodevelopmental tests.

Early primary outcome variable: MRI severity of injury score (decrease by 25%). Late outcome variable Bayley Scales of Infant Development score: improvement by 18% at age 1 years.

Sample size: 60 patients: stratified into 3 groups to give power 0.85, alpha 0.05. Expect to accrue 2-4 patients per month.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 62 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Erythropoetin Neuroprotection for Neonatal Cardiac Surgery
Study Start Date : September 2006
Actual Primary Completion Date : September 2012
Actual Study Completion Date : September 2015

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: EPO group
Patients randomized to receive the 3 doses of erythropoetin.
Drug: Erythropoetin
Erythropoetin 500 units/kg IV x 3 : dose 1. 12-72 hours preoperatively, dose 2. Postoperative day #1, 48 hours after separating from cardiopulmonary bypass, and dose 3. postoperative day #3, 48 hours after dose #2
Other Names:
  • Procrit
  • Epoetin alpha

Placebo Comparator: Control group.
Patients randomized to receive 3 doses of normal saline control.
Drug: Normal saline

Normal saline placebo in 3 doses:dose 1. 12-72 hours preoperatively, dose 2. Postoperative day #1, 48 hours after separating from cardiopulmonary bypass, and dose 3. postoperative day #3, 48 hours after dose #2.


Other Name: Saline placebo

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Relative Difference in Total Maturity Score (TMS) From Preoperative Brain MRI to 7 Day Postoperative MRI [ Time Frame: 7 days postoperatively. ]

    TMS is a measure of developmental maturity of the brain as assessed from T1 and T2-weighted images, grading myelination, cortical infolding, involution of the germinal matrix, and presence of bands of migrating glial cells. The brain MRIs were reviewed for infarction, hemorrhage, white matter injury (WMI), or dural sinovenous thrombosis (DVST). Injuries in each category are scored 0 for none, 1 for mild, 2 for moderate, 3 for severe. The score in each category is then multiplied by a proposed outcome significance multiplier. A total injury score of 0 signifies no injury, 1-5 a mild injury, 6-10 a moderate injury, and >10 a severe injury. Range of scores is 0 - 51. Lower scores indicate less injury.

    The results present the relative difference of this score between the pre- and post-operative MRI. This was calculated as ((Post-operative MRI TMS - Pre-operative MRI TMS) / (Absolute(Pre-operative MRI TMS)) ). The proportion is then converted into a percentage.

  2. Scores on Bayley Scales of Infant Development III at Age 1 Years. [ Time Frame: 1 year postoperatively ]
    3 domains of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III: Cognitive, Language and Motor Minimum score = 45, maximum score = 155; Population mean = 100, SD = 15; Higher scores are indicative of better outcomes Language scores are reflective of receptive communication and expressive communication subscales. Motor scores are reflective of fine motor and gross motor subscales.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. EEG Seizure Burden in the First 72 Postoperative Hours. (Total Minutes of EEG Seizures). [ Time Frame: 72 hours postoperatively. ]
  2. Pharmacokinetics of High Dose Erythropoetin: 7 Erythropoetin Levels in First 24 Hours After First Dose (Maximum EPO Plasma Concentration) [ Time Frame: 24 hours after first EPO dose. ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   up to 30 Days   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Neonates (<30 days) undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass will be enrolled.
  • Inclusion criteria include patients with:

    • single ventricle: hypoplastic left heart syndrome or variant undergoing Norwood Stage I or Sano palliation (SV group);
    • patients with D-transposition of the great vessels with or without ventricular septal defect (VSD) undergoing arterial switch operation with VSD closure if needed (ASO group); and
    • patients with interrupted or hypoplastic aortic arch with intracardiac defects (VSD, ASD, or subaortic stenosis) who are undergoing complete 2- ventricle repair including aortic arch advancement(AAA group), any other 2 ventricle lesion scheduled for complex anatomic repair.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Gestational age less than 35 weeks at birth
  • Weight less than 2 kg
  • Known recognizable dysmorphic syndrome
  • Surgery not requiring cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Preoperative cardiac arrest requiring chest compressions for greater than 3 minutes
  • Inability to enroll the patient greater than 12 hours preoperatively
  • Aortic crossclamping is not used
  • CPB times are anticipated to be less than 60 minutes
  • A nadir temperature on bypass greater than 25° C is planned.
  • Presence of known contraindications to EPO administration-sustained systolic blood pressure >100, hemoglobin .18 g/dL, known allergy to EPO or one of its components
  • Platelet count >600,000 per dL, INR <0.8.
  • Maternal history of major vascular thrombosis, or multiple fetal loss (3 or more spontaneous abortions).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00513240

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United States, Texas
Texas Children's Hospital
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030
Sponsors and Collaborators
Baylor College of Medicine
The Dana Foundation
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
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Principal Investigator: Dean B. Andropoulos, M.D. Baylor College of Medicine - Texas Children's Hospital
Additional Information:
Publications of Results:
Other Publications:

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Responsible Party: Dean Andropoulos, Professor, Chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Baylor College of Medicine Identifier: NCT00513240    
Other Study ID Numbers: R21HD5550101
IND #100011 ( Other Identifier: FDA )
0942 ( Other Grant/Funding Number: Baylor College of Medicine General Clinical Research Center )
1R21HD055501-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Not Assigned ( Other Grant/Funding Number: Charles A. Dana Foundation Brain and Immuno-Imaging Grant )
First Posted: August 8, 2007    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: May 19, 2014
Last Update Posted: February 7, 2020
Last Verified: January 2020
Keywords provided by Dean Andropoulos, Baylor College of Medicine:
magnetic resonance imaging
brain magnetic resonance imaging
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Heart Diseases
Heart Defects, Congenital
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
Transposition of Great Vessels
Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Abnormalities
Congenital Abnormalities
Epoetin Alfa