Use of red blood cells older than five days for neonatal transfusion.

E. Patten, M. Robbins, J. Vincent, J. Richardson, J. Hokanson

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20 Scopus citations


Sick neonates often require periodic small volume transfusions (10 mL/kg) to replace blood drawn for laboratory monitoring during their hospital stay. We use red blood cells (RBCs), stored as CPDA-1 whole blood, up to their expiration date, and are unaware of any clinical problems with this practice. We proceeded to confirm our clinical impression by reviewing the hospital records of 22 transfused neonates who received a median of 2.5 RBC transfusions (range 1 to 11) with a volume of 16 mL (range 5 to 38) each, and total volume of 60 mL (range 16 to 152). The RBCs were stored a median of 7 days (range 2 to 27). Following transfusion, there was an increase (P less than .05) in hemoglobin (mean 2.8 +/- 1.6 gm/dL [SD]) and hematocrit (9.0% +/- 4.7%). The bilirubin also rose (0.6 +/- 1.5 mg/dL, P less than .05), but this was not considered clinically significant. No significant change occurred in pH or bicarbonate. Paradoxically, RBCs over 10 days of age resulted in a fall in potassium (-0.9 +/- 0.8 mEq/L, P less than .01), but not below 3.4 mEq/L. We could find no evidence by clinical observation or laboratory indexes that small volume transfusion of RBCs more than 5 days old was deleterious to the newborns studied. By using RBCs up to their expiration date, the number of donor exposures and the potential risk of transfusion-transmitted diseases can be decreased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-40
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of perinatology : official journal of the California Perinatal Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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