Effects of blood transfusion on left ventricular output in premature babies

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To investigate the acute effects of red blood cell transfusion on haemodynamics in preterm babies.


A neonatal unit in a University Hospital.


Preterm babies whose postnatal age was less than four weeks and who required red blood cell transfusion.


Cardiac output and left ventricular systolic function was determined using Doppler echocardiography before, one hour and 24 h after red blood cell transfusion. Blood pressure and haematocrit were also recorded at the same time. Mixed-effects regression model was used to analyse the effect of blood transfusion on left ventricular function and cardiac output.


57 preterm babies were recruited. Univariate analysis showed that cardiac index decreased significantly 24 h after transfusion (P<0.05). Systemic red cell transport increased by an average of 11.1% 24 h after transfusion (P<0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that the cardiac index was negatively associated with haematocrit and the index was higher in male babies.


There was a significant drop in cardiac index and an increase in systemic red cell transport 24 h after transfusion in premature babies.

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