February 23, 2012

Red blood cell transfusions in children awaiting heart transplantation


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Although not studied in the pediatric population, red blood cell (RBC) transfusions may be beneficial in children awaiting transplantation. However, the use of RBC transfusions has been associated with increasing the risk of allosensitization. This retrospective, single center study examined the role of both RBC transfusions and erythropoietin in hospitalized children awaiting transplant who where not supported by a mechanical device. A majority of the children (75%) over the seven-year study period received at least one RBC transfusion (leukoreduced) and over half of the patients also received erythropoietin. Despite the fact that the majority of the hospitalized patients received RBCs, none of them became newly sensitized. This study highlights the need for future studies to determine the role of both RBC transfusions and erythropoietin in children awaiting transplant.

Cardiac Transplantation

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