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Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 May;89(5):1378-84.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2010.01.064.

Association of hemoglobin and transfusion with outcome after operations for hypoplastic left heart.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



Red blood cell transfusions may or may not improve oxygen delivery to the tissues. Some studies suggest transfusion might contribute to adverse outcomes. This study investigated the association between hemoglobin concentration and transfusion with outcome in cyanotic neonates undergoing Norwood operations.


Infants 6 weeks old or younger with hypoplastic left heart syndrome undergoing staged Norwood operations between September 1996 and July 2005 were included. Demographics and preoperative, operative, and postoperative variables were collected prospectively. Hemoglobin concentration, transfusion, fluid balance, and chest tube losses were collected retrospectively. The association of variables with outcomes, including early and 2-year mortality, mental and psychomotor developmental indices at 18 to 24 months of age, and ventilator days were determined by univariate and multiple regression analyses.


Ninety-four patients had Norwood operations. Excluded were 10 requiring postoperative extracorporeal life support and 2 with chromosomal abnormalities. By multiple regression analysis, only a higher nadir hemoglobin on days 2 to 5 postoperatively was associated with higher early mortality (odds ratio, 2.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 3.87; p = 0.018), and the highest preoperative dopamine dose and highest epinephrine dose on day 2 to 5 postoperatively were associated with 2-year mortality; however, neither hemoglobin concentration nor number of transfusions were associated with mental or psychomotor developmental indices. The number of transfusions on day 2 to 5 postoperatively was associated with ventilator days in multiple variable analysis (effect size, 1.85; 95% CI, 0.33 to 3.36; p = 0.018).


This single-center cohort study found transfusion was not associated with improved outcomes in neonates undergoing Norwood operations.

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