Fresh frozen plasma transfusion - a risk factor for pulmonary hemorrhage in extremely low birth weight infants?

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To evaluate risk factors for pulmonary hemorrhage (PH) in extremely low birth weight infants (ELBW) taking into consideration coagulation screens, platelet counts, transfusion of fresh frozen plasma (FFP), and platelet concentrates prior to PH.

Patients and methods:

A retrospective case-control study consisting of 20 ELBW infants with PH and 40 matched controls. Coagulation screens, platelet counts at birth and at onset of PH, and transfusion frequencies prior to PH were compared to case-controls at birth and 24-96 h after birth.


While the initial platelet counts, fibrinogen concentrations, and international normalized ratios were similar in PH infants and controls, the activated partial prothrombin time was prolonged (P=0.05). Compared to 28% of case controls (P<0.05), 55% of infants with later PH received FFP prior to PH. Platelet counts were significantly lower at onset of PH (median 81/nL; range: 37-236/nL) compared to controls (166/nL; 27-460/nL; P<0.005). Multivariate analysis indicated a lack of antenatal steroids, supplemental oxygen, and transfusion of FFP as independent risk factors for PH.


Prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) might be associated with PH. PH does not primarily depend upon severe thrombocytopenia. A developmental mismatch in hemostasis by transfusion of adult donor plasma should be considered a risk factor for PH.

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