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Giving erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) after traumatic brain injury (TBI) may improve survival without increasing comorbidities, researchers found.

Despite longer hospital and intensive care unit stays, patients in a prospective study who were given the red cell production stimulants after TBI had a 75 percent lower mortality risk than those not given the agents, Peep Talving, MD, PhD, of the University of Southern California, and colleagues reported in the March issue of Archives of Surgery.

In animal models, ESAs given after TBI offered neuroprotective effects by decreasing secondary neuronal damage and improving neurological outcomes. Also, Talving and colleagues had conducted an earlier retrospective analysis of 89 TBI patients given ESAs and found a significant survival benefit.

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