Effects of pentoxifylline on coagulation profile and disseminated intravascular coagulation incidence in Egyptian septic neonates

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2010 Jun;35(3):257-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2009.01077.x.


Background and objectives: Neonatal sepsis is frequently associated with pathological activation of the coagulation system, leading to microcirculatory derangement and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). The key role in the pathogenesis of sepsis has been attributed to proinflammatory cytokines. These trigger the development of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) via the tissue factor-dependent pathway of coagulation. Pentoxifylline (PTX), a methylxanthine derivative that is used in peripheral vascular disease, has the potential to modify inflammatory response. The current work was designed to evaluate the potential protective effects of PTX against sepsis-induced microcirculatory derangement in Egyptian neonates.

Methods: A double-blind placebo-controlled quasi-randomized design was used. Thirty-seven neonates with sepsis were randomly allocated into two groups. Seventeen patients were given PTX (5 mg/kg/h for 6 h; for 6 successive days). Twenty patients received equivalent volume of normal saline and represented the placebo group. Prothrombin time (PT), Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), fibrinogen, d-dimer, C-reactive protein (CRP), complete blood count (CBC), also hemodynamic parameters comprising arterial blood pressure, heart rate, capillary refill and urinary output were assessed in both groups before and after treatment.

Results: Coagulation parameters in the two groups showed no significant differences. However, a higher incidence of DIC was observed in the placebo group neonates. PTX significantly lowered the percentage of bleeding (P = 0.0128) and less frequent use of FFP was observed in the PTX group (35.53% in PTX group vs. 80% in placebo group, P = 0.003). Incidence of MODS was significantly lower (P = 0.037) and hospital stay duration of survivors was significantly shorter (P = 0.044) in the PTX treated-infants.

Conclusion: Pentoxifylline protects against sepsis-induced microcirculatory derangement in neonates. It significantly lowered the incidence of bleeding and MODS and shortened the length of hospital stay.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation / drug therapy*
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation / etiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Multiple Organ Failure / etiology
  • Multiple Organ Failure / prevention & control
  • Pentoxifylline / pharmacology*
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Sepsis / complications
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Pentoxifylline