Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Introduction: Packed cell transfusion is a lifesaving procedure in premature babies as they have more complications as compared to babies who are born at term. Complications related to prematurity increase as gestational age decreases and anemia is one of the complications of prematurity which needs packed cell transfusions. To date, when to transfuse preterm babies and what would be the threshold for hemoglobin and hematocrit is still a point of argument as well as liberal versus restrictive transfusion protocols have been developed but what should be followed still needs more data. In our study, we have observed frequencies of different indications of packed cell transfusion in the neonatal intensive care unit of a tertiary care hospital. This endeavor will help in the establishment of guidelines regarding transfusion and the threshold on which any intervention should be done also it would be a step towards the identification of preventable causes that lead to transfusion and transfusion-related risks and hazards.
Objective: To determine the indication of packed cell transfusion and their frequencies in preterm neonates.
Study Design: This was a cross-sectional study.
Setting: The study was carried out in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Study Duration: The duration of the study was 1 year.
Material and Methods: A total of 246 preterm neonates admitted to Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) neonatal intensive care unit in the tenure of 1 year, fulfilling the inclusion criteria and requiring packed cell transfusion were included. After the approval from ethical review committee, charts were reviewed for gestational age, birth weight, mode of delivery (normal vaginal or Cesarean-section) were recorded. Indications of packed cell transfusion (intraventricular hemorrhage, infection or sepsis, anemia of prematurity, phlebotomy losses, increase oxygen requirement, hematological causes, other causes of hemorrhage and other causes) were observed and recorded. Pre-transfusion hemoglobin levels (g/dL) and hematocrit levels were also recorded. Other information like number and volume of transfusion and day of life on which transfusion was administered was also documented.
Results: A total of 246 critically ill children were enrolled in this study. Of the total, 52.8% were baby boys and 47.2% were baby girls. 57% of babies were born via cesarean section and 43% were born via vaginal delivery. Out of total preterm newborns admitted in NICU, 22.8% were extremely preterm, 35.4% were very preterm and 41.9% were late preterm. Mean gestational age was observed to be 31 (±4) weeks and the mean birth weight of newborns was 1500 (±600) grams. Indications of packed cell transfusion observed in our study are intraventricular hemorrhage 10%, 26% sepsis/infection, 4% hematological disorders, 12.8% anemia of prematurity, 25.2% was related to increase in oxygen requirement, 13% other hematological causes and 9.3% other causes.
Conclusion: An increase in oxygen requirement and anemia of prematurity were the indications that were observed in the extremely preterm and very preterm groups. Sepsis and increase oxygen requirement are some of the major causes of transfusions observed in the late preterm group. Preventable indications can be one of the areas that can be worked on and will reduce the need for transfusion in preterm babies with subsequent prevention of transfusion-associated risks.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Open Journal of Pediatrics

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.