Changes in Transfusion Practice in Children and Adolescents over Time

Transfus Med Hemother. 2020 Oct;47(5):379-384. doi: 10.1159/000511231. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


Introduction: In recent years, resource-saving handling of allogeneic blood products and a reduction of transfusion rates in adults has been observed. However, comparable published national data for transfusion practices in pediatric patients are currently not available. In this study, the transfusion rates for children and adolescents were analyzed based on data from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany during the past 2 decades.

Methods: Data were queried via the database of the Federal Statistical Office (Destasis). The period covered was from 2005 to 2018, and those in the sample group were children and adolescents aged 0-17 years receiving inpatient care. Operation and procedure codes (OPS) for transfusions, procedures, or interventions with increased transfusion risk were queried and evaluated in detail.

Results: In Germany, 0.9% of the children and adolescents treated in hospital received a transfusion in 2018. A reduction in transfusion rates from 1.02% (2005) to 0.9% (2018) was observed for the total collective of children and adolescents receiving inpatient care. Increases in transfusion rates were recorded for 1- to 4- (1.41-1.45%) and 5- to 10-year-olds (1.24-1.33%). Children under 1 year of age were most frequently transfused (in 2018, 40.2% of the children were cared for in hospital). Transfusion-associated procedures such as chemotherapy or machine ventilation and respiratory support for newborns and infants are on the rise.

Conclusion: Transfusion rates are declining in children and adolescents, but the reasons for increases in transfusion rates in other groups are unclear. Prospective studies to evaluate transfusion rates and triggers in children are urgently needed.

Keywords: Children; Patient blood management; Pediatric patients; Transfusion.