Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Perinatol. 2008 Jul;28(7):492-7. doi: 10.1038/jp.2008.23. Epub 2008 Mar 13.

Adherence to NICU transfusion guidelines: data from a multihospital healthcare system.

Author information

Intermountain Healthcare, Ogden, UT 84403, USA.



We critically reviewed every NICU blood component transfusion (packed erythrocytes, platelets, frozen plasma (FP) and cryoprecipitate) administered during a one-year period. This was done to determine the proportion of transfusions given out of compliance with the Intermountain Healthcare transfusion guidelines, and to look for patterns of non-compliance that could be addressed by quality improvement measures.


A detailed review was made of every transfusion administered to patients with a date of birth of 1 January 2006 through 31 December 2006, in any of three level III, perinatal-center-associated NICUs within Intermountain Healthcare.


During 2006 the three NICUs cared for 1759 neonates. Seventeen percent of these received one or more (median 3) erythrocyte transfusions, 4% received one or more (median 3) platelet transfusions, 6% received one or more (median 1) FP infusions and 2% received cryoprecipitate (median 1 dose). Seventy percent of the erythrocyte transfusions were given in compliance with the guidelines, as were 69% of the platelet transfusions, 65% of the FP transfusions and 94% of the cryoprecipitate administrations. Patients who received large numbers of transfusions were more likely to receive transfusion that violated the guidelines. Forty-five percent of patients who received 1 to 3 transfusions received all transfusions within guidelines. However, only 18% of patients who received 4 to 10 transfusions received all within guidelines. No patient who received >10 transfusions received all within the guidelines. Erythrocyte transfusions given early in the hospital course were likely to be within guidelines; 72% (588/818) in the first 29 days were compliant with guidelines, but compliance fell to 61% (144/237) for transfusions administered after 29 days (P=0.002). About half of the platelet transfusions given early in the hospital course were in violation of guidelines, but after day 9, 83% of platelet transfusions were compliant with guidelines (P=0.000).


Opportunities exist in our healthcare system to improve compliance with our transfusion guidelines. Such opportunities are greatest among neonates receiving multiple transfusions, among those receiving erythrocyte transfusions late in their NICU course and among those receiving platelet transfusions early in their NICU course.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center