JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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A decline in the frequency of neonatal exchange transfusions and its effect on exchange-related morbidity and mortality.

Pediatrics 2007 July
OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to identify trends in patient demographics and indications for and complications related to neonatal exchange transfusion over a 21-year period in a single institution using a uniform protocol for performing the procedure.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review of 107 patients who underwent 141 single- or double-volume exchange transfusions from 1986-2006 was performed. Patients were stratified into 2 groups, 1986-1995 and 1996-2006, on the basis of changes in clinical practice influenced by American Academy of Pediatrics management guidelines for hyperbilirubinemia.

RESULTS: There was a marked decline in the frequency of exchange transfusions per 1000 newborn special care unit admissions over the 21-year study period. Patient demographics and indications for exchange transfusion were similar between groups. A significantly higher proportion of patients in the second time period received intravenous immunoglobulin before exchange transfusion. There was a higher proportion of patients in the 1996-2006 group with a serious underlying condition at the time of exchange transfusion. During that same time period, a lower proportion of patients experienced an adverse event related to the exchange transfusion. Although a similar percentage of patients in both groups experienced hypocalcemia and thrombocytopenia after exchange transfusion, patients treated from 1996-2006 were significantly more likely to receive calcium replacement or platelet transfusion. No deaths were related to exchange transfusion in either time period.

CONCLUSIONS: Improvements in prenatal and postnatal care have led to a sharp decline in the number of exchange transfusions performed. This decline has not led to an increase in complications despite relative inexperience with the procedure.

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