Association of Red Blood Cell Transfusion, Anemia, and Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Very Low-Birth-Weight Infants

  • Ravi M. Patel, Andrea Knezevic, Neeta Shenvi, Michael Hinkes, Sarah Keene, John D. Roback, Kirk A. Easley, Cassandra D. Josephson
  • JAMA, March 2016, American Medical Association (AMA)
  • DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.1204

What is it about?

This study examined if premature babies who receive blood transfusions have a higher risk of a serious intestinal problem called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). We also wanted to know if severe anemia in a premature baby was related to a higher risk of NEC. We found that blood transfusion was not related to the development of NEC, but being severely anemic was. We believe these findings need to be evaluated in clinical trials, which are better at determining cause-and-effect relationships.

Why is it important?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious and deadly intestinal problem affecting premature infants. NEC occurs in approximately 1 out of every 10 to 15 very low birth weight babies (born weighing less than 3 lb 4 oz). Up to 1 in 3 of these babies who develop NEC will die and many will suffer lifelong complications from the disease.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Ravi Mangal Patel