Association of necrotizing enterocolitis with elective packed red blood cell transfusions in stable, growing, premature neonates

Pradeep Mally, Sergio G. Golombek, Ravi Mishra, Sarvesh Nigam, Kala Mohandas, Helene Depalhma, Edmund F. LaGamma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine an association between packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions for anemia and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in a subset of stable, growing, premature neonates. As part of a survey of current clinical practices over a 17-month period from June 1999 to October 2000, a chart review was performed to determine the relationship between elective PRBC transfusions and the occurrence of NEC. Demographic data were tabulated and compared between the NEC patients with a prior history of immediate blood transfusion (within 48 hours of onset of symptoms) and those NEC patients without a prior history of immediate blood transfusion. A total of 908 (inborn) neonatal admissions had received 751 PRBC transfusions during the study period; of these, 17 patients (1.8%) had developed radiographic, clinical, or surgical signs of NEC. Six cases of NEC (35%; six of 17 patients) were associated with PRBC transfusions (0.8%; six of 751 transfusions). The transfusion-associated NEC group developed presenting signs within 22 ± 5 hours (median, 19; range, 12 to 38) of a PRBC transfusion at a mean age of 32 ± 7 days. In contrast, the non-transfusion-associated NEC group (n = 11) had onset of NEC at a mean age of 12 ± 7 days (p < 0.05) after 185 ± 91 hours (median, 180; range, 96 to 312; p < 0.02] of a transfusion. Prior to the onset of NEC, all of the neonates in the transfusion-associated NEC group were stable, growing, not ventilated, receiving full enteral feedings, and had no other active medical problems except anemia (hematocrit, 24 ± 3%). In contrast, the nontransfusion NEC group was more often ventilated, was receiving < 50% of fluids by mouth, had lower Apgar scores, and was transfused for an average hematocrit of 37 ± 7% (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the type, storage, volume, or preservative used between the blood products in the two groups. We identified an unanticipated relationship between late-onset NEC in stable, growing, premature neonates who were transfused electively for anemia of prematurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anemia
  • Apnea
  • Blood transfusion
  • Enteral feedings
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Oxygen delivery
  • Preterm
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of necrotizing enterocolitis with elective packed red blood cell transfusions in stable, growing, premature neonates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this