Cardiovascular Effects of Erythropoietin: Anemia and Beyond

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We did a PubMed and Cochrane Database System review of different studies on the diverse effects of erythropoietin (EPO), focusing mainly on the cardiovascular system. The direct erythropoietic action of EPO is well studied and widely used. Published studies report dramatic improvement in the course of heart failure with EPO treatment. New controlled clinical trials on large and diverse groups of patients are warranted. Antiapoptotic effects of EPO are newly discovered, opening new horizons in both clinical investigation and therapy. The salvage of cardiomyocytes in acute coronary syndromes, limiting the size of myocardial infarction and improving functional recovery, is only one of multiple potential applications of this effect. Derivatives of EPO with selective antiapoptotic properties seem to hold the best prospects for future studies. Heart failure and ischemic heart disease are potential areas where adding EPO to the conventional treatment may be beneficial.

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