Introduction Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) remains a serious complication of prematurity. NEC is associated with multiple factors. Recently concerns have been raised that transfusion related gut injury (TRAGI) may lead to NEC development.
Aim To identify if blood transfusion is implicated in the development of NEC in our population.
Methods Data collection from infants treated for definite NEC in two tertiary surgical neonatal units.
Results 49 infants developed NEC. GA: ≤24 wks 16%, 25–26 wks 16%, 27–29 wks 37%, 30–32 wks 19%, 33–36 wks 12%. Age of NEC: ≤7d: 7%,d8–14: 19%, >14d: 74%. The lowest hematocrit (HCT) within 72 hours preceding NEC diagnosis was < 24 8%, 24–29 in 28% of cases, 30–35 in 36%, 36–42 in 11%, 17% had Hct >42. 6% received a blood transfusion in the 48 hrs preceding diagnosis. No cases of TRAGI were identified.
Conclusion In our population 83% of infants diagnosed with NEC had PCV < 42. Anaemia was associated with increased risk for developing NEC, we did not identify any increased risk relating to blood transfusion. Considering the possible causes for anaemia and refining transfusion thresholds in selected cases may be indicated. Further prospective studies may be helpful to identify potential critical Hct levels.