Erythropoietin administration facilitates return of spontaneous circulation and improves survival in a pig model of cardiac arrest

Am J Emerg Med. 2014 Aug;32(8):871-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2014.04.036. Epub 2014 Apr 26.


Background: In addition to its role in the endogenous control of erythropoiesis, recombinant human erythropoietin (rh-EPO) has been shown to exert tissue protective properties in various experimental models. However, its role in the cardiac arrest (CA) setting has not yet been adequately investigated.

Aim: The aim of this study is to examine the effect of rh-EPO in a pig model of ventricular fibrillation (VF)-induced CA.

Methods: Ventricular fibrillation was electrically induced in 20 piglets and maintained untreated for 8 minutes before attempting resuscitation. Animals were randomized to receive rh-EPO (5000 IU/kg, erythropoietin [EPO] group, n = 10) immediately before the initiation of chest compressions or to receive 0.9% Sodium chloride solution instead (control group, n = 10).

Results: Compared with the control, the EPO group had higher rates of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) (100% vs 60%, P = .011) and higher 48-hour survival (100% vs 40%, P = .001). Diastolic aortic pressure and coronary perfusion pressure during cardiopulmonary resuscitation were significantly higher in the EPO group compared with the control group. Erythropoietin-treated animals required fewer number of shocks in comparison with animals that received normal saline (P = .04). Furthermore, the neurologic alertness score was higher in the EPO group compared with that of the control group at 24 (P = .004) and 48 hours (P = .021).

Conclusion: Administration of rh-EPO in a pig model of VF-induced CA just before reperfusion facilitates ROSC and improves survival rates as well as hemodynamic variables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Circulation / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / drug therapy*
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Swine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications


  • Erythropoietin