Better blood transfusions for preterm babies

November 22, 2012

Results of new research from the University of Adelaide are a promising step forward in helping to improve the quality of life-saving blood transfusions for preterm babies, by reducing the likelihood of adverse inflammatory responses to the blood.

Blood transfusions are among the most common medical procedures experienced by preterm babies, who are often anemic and suffer blood loss.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute studied 28 preterm babies (at 28 weeks' gestation or less) who were given packed red blood cell transfusions. The results of this study are now published in the journal Pediatric Research.

"Blood transfusions are a safe and life-saving medical procedure - they are an important part of modern-day medical care," says the lead author, Dr Michael Stark from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute.

"It has been suggested that blood transfusions themselves may be associated with medical complications that are unrelated to the reason for which the transfusion is given, and we don't really know why that is.

"These associations include bronchopulmonary dysplasia and necrotizing entercolitis, inflammatory conditions that affect the lungs and gut of very preterm babies."

The researchers have found a potential mechanism associated with the inflammatory response in the body.

"Within two to four hours of preterm babies receiving a blood transfusion, we have seen elevated levels of cytokines and chemokines - signaling cells - that stimulate inflammatory responses in the body," Dr Stark says.

"We believe that the bioactive components of packed red blood cell transfusions are initiating or amplifying these inflammatory processes in the body.

"We hope that by better understanding how the body responds to the blood, we can make improvements to blood transfusions that will reduce the likelihood of inflammatory responses. In this way, the patient will benefit from a life-saving procedure and also experience less complications as a result of that procedure.

"More research is now needed to determine exactly how this response is triggered, and how we might be able to prevent it," he says.
-end-
The publication of these research results coincides with the Robinson Institute's Great Expectations for Life campaign, an awareness and fundraising campaign to support research into preterm birth. For more information visit the website: www.greatexpectationsforlife.org

Media Contact:Dr Michael Stark
NHMRC Health Professional Clinical Fellow
Robinson Institute
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 1325
michael.stark@adelaide.edu.au

University of Adelaide

Related Blood Transfusions Articles from Brightsurf:

Critically ill infants given blood transfusions before surgery have poorer outcomes
Critically ill newborns who receive blood transfusions prior to surgery had about a 50% increased rate of complications or death than those who did not receive transfusions, according to a new study published today in Pediatrics by Nemours Children's Health System researchers.

New evidence to guide the practice of blood transfusions in children with severe malari
Blood transfusions increase the survival of children admitted to the hospital with complications by severe malaria, and could be beneficial even at higher haemoglobin levels than those currently recommended.

New blood, new hope: Transfusions protect the brain from stroke damage
In a study led by Xuefang ''Sophie'' Ren, a research assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience, a team of West Virginia University neuroscientists found that blood substitution therapy rescues the brains of mice from ischemic damage, a potential breakthrough in stroke therapy.

Closing the gap: finding undiagnosed hepatitis C infections after blood transfusions
What is the incidence of viral hepatitis caused by blood transfusions before and after Sweden introduced screening of blood in the early 1990s?

Blood transfusions: Fresh red blood cells no better than older ones
Findings from the ABC-PICU study on critically ill children may alter policies at hospitals where fresh red cells are preferentially used.

Fresh red blood cell transfusions do not help critically ill children more than older cells
Researchers have found that transfusions using fresh red blood cells -- cells that have spent seven days or less in storage -- are no more beneficial than older red blood cells in reducing the risk of organ failure or death in critically ill children.

Giving trauma patients blood pressure stabilizing hormone cuts transfusions by half
Giving trauma patients with severe blood loss the hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) cut the volume of blood products required to stabilize them by half, according to results of a new, first-of-its-kind clinical trial from Penn Medicine.

Of mice and babies: New mouse model links transfusions to deadly infant digestive disease
Physicians have long suspected that red blood cell transfusions given to premature infants with anemia may put them in danger of developing a potentially lethal inflammatory disease of the intestines.

Postpartum transfusions on the rise, carry greater risk of adverse events
Women who receive a blood transfusion after giving birth are twice as likely to have an adverse reaction related to the procedure, such as fever, respiratory distress, or hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), compared with non-pregnant women receiving the same care, according to a new study published today in Blood Advances.

Transfusions with older blood linked to adverse events, death, new study finds
Major trauma victims who receive transfusions of packed blood 22 days old or older may face increased risk of death within 24 hours, according to a new study in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Read More: Blood Transfusions News and Blood Transfusions Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.