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Fresh frozen plasma use in the NICU: a prospective, observational, multicentred study


Objectives To examine the use of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) in Italian neonatal intensive care units (NICUs); specifically to quantify compliance with guideline recommendations and to evaluate the relationship between coagulation tests and subsequent bleeding episodes.

Design Prospective, observational study.

Setting Seventeen Italian NICUs.

Patients and methods Over a period of 12 months, for all neonates that received FFP we recorded specific characteristics, pretransfusion and post-transfusion laboratory test of haemostasis, and details of all haemorrhagic events.

Results Among 3506 NICU admissions, 290 (8.2%) received one or more FFP transfusions during their hospital stay. Of these, 37% received FFP because of active bleeding and 63% received FFP prophylactically with the intention of preventing haemorrhage. A total of 609 FFP transfusions were administered (mean 2.1/transfused patient—range 1–25). Using previously agreed upon criteria, we judged that 60% of the 609 FFP transfusions were not compliant with guideline recommendations. By logistic regression, abnormalities in the prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen and platelet count were not independently associated with bleeding episodes.

Conclusions FFP transfusion is a relatively frequent intervention in the NICU. In the present analysis, we found a remarkably high proportion of FFP transfusions given to non-bleeding neonates for indications not compliant with guideline recommendations. Platelet counts and coagulation studies were poor predictors of clinical bleeding.

  • Newborn
  • Plasma
  • Blood Component Transfusion
  • Hemorrhage
  • Hemostasis

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