Erythropoietin in cardiovascular diseases

Eur Heart J. 2004 Feb;25(4):285-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ehj.2003.11.017.


Several studies showed that anaemia is commonly observed in patients with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) and is associated with worsened symptoms and survival. When anaemia in these patients is treated with erythropoietin (EPO), a significant improvement in cardiac function and symptoms was observed. Although it was originally believed that EPO specifically acted on haematopoietical cells, recent evidence demonstrated several non-haematopoietical effects. Ischaemia/reperfusion experiments in rat heart and brain showed large infarct reduction when treated with EPO. Other effects of EPO are related to its pro-angiogenic effects on endothelial cells, which could be of potential value in patients with ischaemic heart disease. These preclinical findings suggest that EPO may have potential effects in cardiovascular disease beyond correction of haemoglobin levels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / complications
  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cardiac Output, Low / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Myocardial Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / etiology
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Stroke / drug therapy


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin