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Early red cell transfusion favourably alters cerebral oxygen extraction in very preterm newborns
  1. CC Andersen1,2,
  2. SM Karayil1,
  3. NA Hodyl1,2,
  4. MJ Stark1,2
  1. 1Department of Neonatal Medicine, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. 2The Robinson Research Institute, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr CC Andersen, Department of Neonatal Medicine, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia; chad.andersen{at}


Background Elevated cerebral fractional tissue oxygen extraction (cFTOE; ≥0.4) predicts early brain injury in very preterm infants. While blood transfusion increases oxygen-carrying capacity, its ability to improve cerebral oxygen kinetics in the immediate newborn period remains unknown.

Objective To investigate the effect of red blood cell (RBC) transfusion in the first 24 h of life on cFTOE in infants ≤29 weeks gestation.

Methods cFTOE was calculated from cerebral tissue oxygenation index (TOI) and cutaneous oximetry measured over a 30 min epoch before and after transfusion. Infants were dichotomised according to pre-transfusion cFTOE (low <0.4 vs high ≥0.4).

Results 24 babies were included, 12 in each group. Pre- and post-transfusion Hb were similar between the groups. cFTOE significantly reduced after transfusion in the high but not low-extraction group (p<0.01).

Conclusions Early RBC transfusion favourably alters cerebral oxygen kinetics in infants with elevated cFTOE, showing potential for modification of the risk of hypoxic (brain) injury.

  • Neonatology
  • Physiology
  • Injury Prevention

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