Background and Aims Our aim was to determine the relationship between red blood cell transfusion and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in all admitted very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with or without transfusion.
Methods All VLBW neonates were categorized into five groups:
subjects that developed NEC < 48 hours after transfusion (n = 15);
subjects that developed NEC > 48 hours after transfusion (n = 31);
subjects that were never transfused but developed NEC, (n = 50);
subjects that were transfused but did not develop NEC, (n = 250);
and subjects that were neither transfused nor developed NEC (n = 301).
Results A group of 647 infants were enrolled in the study. Mean gestational age and birth weight of the patients were 29±3.1 weeks and 1157±237 grams, respectively. The mean age at the onset of NEC in the NEC groups were 20±2.3 days, 12±3 days, and 11±2.6 days, respectively (P<0.05). The mean interval from the last transfusion to the onset of NEC was 16.8±8.8 hours in Group 1 and 240±50 hours in Group 2 (p<0.05).
Conclusion In this study, we sought to evaluate all VLBW infants, whether they received a transfusion or not. We suggest that transfusion associated NEC exists, but many other factors influence this multifactorial disease. The age of NEC onset was later in transfused versus non-transfused patients, whereas the interval between transfusion and NEC was shorter.