Background: Knowledge of neonatal transfusion practices remains limited to local cohorts or survey-based studies. This study evaluated the pattern and temporal changes in the types and frequency of blood product use among preterm neonates born at less than 30 weeks' gestation in Canada.
Study design and methods: A retrospective cohort study of preterm neonates born at less than 30 weeks' gestation and admitted to participating neonatal intensive care units in the Canadian Neonatal Network from 2004 to 2012 was conducted to evaluate blood product usage. The temporal change in red blood cell (RBC) use was evaluated by dividing the study period into three epochs: 2004 to 2006, 2007 to 2009, and 2010 to 2012.
Results: Of 14,868 eligible neonates admitted to participating units in Canada during the overall study period, 8252 (56%) received RBCs, 2151 (15%) platelets, 1556 (11%) fresh-frozen plasma, 915 (6%) albumin, and 302 (2%) cryoprecipitate. Temporal evaluation over three epochs revealed a trend toward fewer RBC transfusions among neonates born at 26 to 29 weeks' gestation (p = <0.01-0.04) but use remained unchanged or increased for neonates born at 23 to 25 weeks' gestation (p = 0.02-0.54).
Conclusion: Blood product use remains at a very high frequency in preterm neonates born at less than 30 weeks' gestation. Evolutionary practice changes and relative high tolerance for anemia may be associated with a reduction in RBC usage in recent years in neonates born at at least 26 weeks' gestation. This contrasts with the ongoing higher usage of blood products observed at extremely low gestational ages.
© 2015 AABB.