Reduction in Red Blood Cell Transfusions Using a Bedside Analyzer in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.
Journal of Perinatology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 02/2005; 25(1):21-5. DOI: 10.1038/
Source: PubMed


Preterm infants typically experience heavy phlebotomy losses from frequent laboratory testing in the first few weeks of life. This results in anemia, requiring red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. We recently introduced a bedside point-of-care (POC) blood gas analyzer (iSTAT, Princeton, NJ) that requires a smaller volume of blood to replace conventional Radiometer blood gas and electrolyte analysis used by our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The smaller volume of blood required for sampling (100 vs 300-500 microl), provided an opportunity to assess if a decrease in phlebotomy loss occurred and, if so, to determine if this resulted in decreased transfusions administered to extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants.
We hypothesized that the use of the POC iSTAT analyzer that measures pH, PCO(2), PO(2), hemoglobin, hematocrit, serum sodium, serum potassium and ionized calcium would result in a significant decrease in the number and volume of RBC transfusions in the first 2 weeks of life.
A retrospective chart review was conducted of all inborn premature infants with birth weights less than 1000 g admitted to the NICU that survived for 2 weeks of age during two separate 1-year periods. Blood gas analysis was performed by conventional laboratory methods during the first period (designated Pre-POC testing) and by the iSTAT POC device during the second period (designated post-POC testing). Data collected for individual infants included the number of RBC transfusions, volume of RBCs transfused, and the number and kind of blood testing done. There was no effort to change either the RBC transfusion criteria applied or blood testing practices.
The mean (+/-SD) number of RBC transfusions administered in the first 2 weeks after birth was 5.7+/-3.74 (n=46) in the pre-POC testing period to 3.1+/-2.07 (n=34) in the post-POC testing period (p<0.001), a 46% reduction. The mean volume of RBC transfusions decreased by 43% with use of the POC analyzer, that is, from 78.4+/-51.6 ml/kg in the pre-POC testing group to 44.4+/-32.9 ml/kg in the Post-POC testing group (p<0.002). There was no difference between the two periods in the total number of laboratory blood tests done.
Use of a bedside blood gas analyzer is associated with clinically important reductions in RBC transfusions in the ELBW infant during the first two weeks of life.

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Available from: John A Widness, Aug 19, 2014
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    • "In our patient population, the common causes of anemia were phlebotomy loss and anemia of prematurity. Phlebotomy losses can be minimized by using bedside, in-line analyzers or noninvasive monitoring devices, implementing discriminating blood drawing schedules, and delaying cord ligation23242526. The ability of early use of erythropoietin to reduce the incidence of BPD and requirement of blood transfusion has been described previously2728. "
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    ABSTRACT: Anemia and the need for transfusion of packed red blood cells (PRBCs) are common in preterm infants. PRBC transfusion increases the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin and may result in higher rates of organ dysfunction. To determine whether PRBC transfusion in preterm infants is associated with an increased incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), this retrospective study was performed on neonates with birth weights ≤ 1,500 g or gestational age ≤ 32 weeks admitted from August, 2008 to November, 2013. Infants who received PRBC transfusion before the diagnosis of BPD and those who did not receive PRBC transfusion or received PRBC transfusion after diagnosis of BPD were compared for incidence of BPD and other morbidities. Of 231 preterm infants, 137 received PRBC transfusion before BPD was diagnosed (group 1) and 94 did not (group 2). The incidence of BPD was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (37.2% vs. 2.1%, P < 0.00001). After adjusting for potential risk factors, the adjusted odds ratio for BPD was 9.80 (95% confidence interval, 1.70-56.36; P = 0.01). This study demonstrated an association between PRBC transfusion and BPD in preterm infants. A cautious approach to PRBC transfusion in these infants is warranted.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Scientific Reports
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    • "Various factors may contribute to phlebotomy loss, including written guidelines that dictate the need for laboratory testing, behaviors among neonatologists regarding blood test ordering, the unavailability of cord blood sampling in postnatal labs at birth, and the unavailability of microtechniques for laboratory assays, among others. Accordingly, phlebotomy blood loss was previously reported as a primary cause of AOP, especially during the first few weeks of life.5,18 The need for RBC transfusions can be reduced by decreasing phlebotomy loss via the following: microsampling using capillary micro collection tubes, batching of blood labs, cord blood sampling in immediate postnatal labs, removing central lines as soon as possible, ordering labs judiciously, careful monitoring of phlebotomy loss, and the use of blood-testing devices operated at the bedside.19 "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Anemia of prematurity is frequent in preterm infants, for which red blood cell (RBC) transfusion remains the treatment of choice. In this study, we attempted to evaluate the characteristics and risk factors of anemia of prematurity, and suggest ways to reduce anemia and the need for multiple transfusions. Materials and Methods Preterm infants weighing less than 1500 g (May 2008-May 2009) were divided into two groups depending on whether they received RBC transfusions (transfusion group and non transfusion group). Hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, phlebotomy blood loss, and the amount of RBC transfusion were analyzed. Risk factors of anemia and RBC transfusions were analyzed. Results Fifty infants that survived were enrolled in the present study: 39 in the transfusion group and 11 in the non transfusion group. Hb concentrations gradually decreased by eight weeks. In the transfusion group, gestational age and birth weight were smaller, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and sepsis were more frequent, full feeding was delayed, parenteral nutrition and days spent in the hospital were prolonged, and phlebotomy blood loss was greater than that in the non transfusion group. Conclusion Anemia of prematurity was correlated with increased laboratory blood loss, decreased birth weight, prolonged parenteral nutrition, and delayed body weight gain. Accordingly, reducing laboratory phlebotomy loss and parenteral nutrition, as well as improving body weight gain, may be beneficial to infants with anemia of prematurity.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Yonsei medical journal
    • "Preterm infants are often anemic and typically experience heavy blood losses from frequent laboratory testing in the first few weeks of life. Although their anemia is multifactorial, repeated blood sampling and reduced erythropoiesis with extremely low serum levels of erythropoietin are major determining factors.[1–3] Therefore, preterm neonates comprise the most heavily transfused group of patients, and about 85% of extremely low birth weight newborns receive a transfusion by the end of their hospital stay.[45] "
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    ABSTRACT: Preterm neonates comprise the most heavily transfused group of patients, and about 85% of extremely low birth weight newborns receive a transfusion by the end of their hospital stay. The aim of this study was to assess the possible metabolic effects of RBC transfusion on preterm infants, especially during the first 2 weeks of life, and its relation to blood volume. This study was conducted on 40 preterm neonates with gestational age of less than or equal to 34 weeks. They received RBCs transfusion during first 2 weeks of life. Venous blood samples of infants were collected 2 to 4 hours before and 1 hour after the end of transfusion to evaluate hemoglobin (Hb) level, hematocrit, acid-base, electrolytes, and glucose status. Then, infants were classified into two main groups: those who received RBCs volume less than or 20 ml/kg and those who received RBCs volume more than 20 ml/kg. Infants received a mean volume of 20.38 ± 3.2 ml/kg RBCs (range, 10.9 - 26.6 ml/kg) at a median age of 9.8 ± 3.6 days. After transfusion, a significant increase of mean Hb (P<0.001), mean Hct (P<0.001), pH (P<0.001), pO(2) (P<0.05), and a significant decrease of the pCO2 (41.46 ± 8.8torr vs 35.4 ± 9.34 torr; P<0.001) were observed. In addition, there was a significant increase of serum K(+) (P<0.001), and a significant decrease of Ca(+2) (P<0.001). A positive correlation was found between the K(+) intake and the changes of kalemia (r = 0.99; P = 0.00). Furthermore, we observed an inverse correlation between the patients' calcium intake and the changes of calcemia (r = -0.35; P = 0.02). On comparing the changes in clinical and biochemical variables between two groups after transfusion, we observed a significant increase in mean Hb and Hct associated with a significant decrease in mean serum Ca(+2) (P<0.001) in the group receiving the larger blood volume. RBC transfusion was effective in improving anemia, oxygenation, increasing pH, and decreasing CO(2) and Ca(+2). However, from a more clinically relevant point of view, we demonstrated the development of hyperkalemia, especially in infants with a previously borderline hyperkalemia.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Asian Journal of Transfusion Science
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