Associations between Red Blood Cell and Platelet Transfusions and Retinopathy of Prematurity

Neonatology. 2020 Dec 8;117(5):1-7. doi: 10.1159/000512020. Online ahead of print.


Aim: The aim of this study is to examine possible associations between the transfusion of RBC or platelets (PLTs) and the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in infants.

Methods: This retrospective, national, case-control study included all live births in Switzerland between 2013 and 2018. We investigated preterm infants at a gestational age of <28 weeks, who developed higher stage ROP (≥stage 2, n = 178). Each case infant was matched to another of the same sex who did not develop ROP (n = 178, control group).

Results: When compared with the control group, we observed higher numbers of RBC transfusions per infant and higher percentages of infants receiving PLT transfusions in the case group. An adjusted logistic regression analysis revealed that both RBC (odds ratio [OR] 1.081, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.020-1.146) and PLT transfusions (OR = 2.502, 95% CI 1.566-3.998) numbers were associated with ROP development.

Conclusions: Multiple RBC and PLT transfusions are associated with higher stage ROP development. Prospective studies are required to determine their potential as risk factors.

Keywords: Platelet transfusion; Red blood cell transfusion; Retinopathy of prematurity.