Perioperative bleeding management in pediatric patients

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Purpose of review

Managing the bleeding pediatric patient perioperatively can be extremely challenging. The primary goals include avoiding hypotension, maintaining adequate tissue perfusion and oxygenation, and maintaining hemostasis. Traditional bleeding management has consisted of transfusion of autologous blood products, however, there is strong evidence that transfusion-related side-effects are associated with increased morbidity and mortality in children. Especially concerning is the increased reported incidence of noninfectious adverse events such as transfusion-related acute lung injury, transfusion-related circulatory overload and transfusion-related immunomodulation. The current approach in perioperative bleeding management of the pediatric patient should focus on the diagnosis and treatment of anemia and coagulopathy with the transfusion of blood products only when clinically indicated and guided by goal-directed strategies.

Recent findings

Current guidelines recommend that a comprehensive multimodal patient blood management strategy is critical in optimizing patient care, avoiding unnecessary transfusion of blood and blood product and limiting transfusion-related side-effects.


This article will highlight current guidelines in perioperative bleeding management for our most vulnerable pediatric patients with emphasis on individualized targeted intervention using point-of-care testing and specific coagulation products.

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