A Phase II clinical trial conducted at Duke University Medical Center and five other U.S. institutions has shown that an agent made of purified human hemoglobin appears safe and may be effective when used instead of transfused human blood to replace blood lost during heart surgery.
If the benefits of the agent, known as hemoglobin raffimer, are proven in subsequent Phase III clinical trials, physicians would not need to use as much donated blood during surgery, the researchers said. An estimated 20 percent of all human blood transfused in the U.S. is associated with heart surgery, so the Duke researchers believe that an efficient ?oxygen therapeutic? could play an important role in reducing the need for transfused blood.
The results of the trial were published today (Dec. 13, 2002) in the Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia.
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