Pediatric Patient Blood Management Programs: Not Just Transfusing Little Adults

Ruchika Goel, Melissa M. Cushing, Aaron A.R. Tobian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Red blood cell transfusions are a common life-saving intervention for neonates and children with anemia, but transfusion decisions, indications, and doses in neonates and children are different from those of adults. Patient blood management (PBM) programs are designed to assist clinicians with appropriately transfusing patients. Although PBM programs are well recognized and appreciated in the adult setting, they are quite far from standard of care in the pediatric patient population. Adult PBM standards cannot be uniformly applied to children, and there currently is significant variation in transfusion practices. Because transfusing unnecessarily can expose children to increased risk without benefit, it is important to design PBM programs to standardize transfusion decisions. This article assesses the key elements necessary for a successful pediatric PBM program, systematically explores various possible pediatric specific blood conservation strategies and the current available literature supporting them, and outlines the gaps in the evidence suggesting need for further/improved research. Pediatric PBM programs are critically important initiatives that not only involve a cooperative effort between pediatric surgery, anesthesia, perfusion, critical care, and transfusion medicine services but also need operational support from administration, clinical leadership, finance, and the hospital information technology personnel. These programs also expand the scope for high-quality collaborative research. A key component of pediatric PBM programs is monitoring pediatric blood utilization and assessing adherence to transfusion guidelines. Data suggest that restrictive transfusion strategies should be used for neonates and children similar to adults, but further research is needed to assess the best oxygenation requirements, hemoglobin threshold, and transfusion strategy for patients with active bleeding, hemodynamic instability, unstable cardiac disease, and cyanotic cardiac disease. Perioperative blood management strategies include minimizing blood draws, restricting transfusions, intraoperative cell salvage, acute normovolemic hemodilution, antifibrinolytic agents, and using point-of-care tests to guide transfusion decisions. However, further research is needed for the use of intravenous iron, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, and possible use of whole blood and pathogen inactivation. There are numerous areas where newly formed collaborations could be used to investigate pediatric transfusion, and these studies would provide critical data to support vital pediatric PBM programs to optimize neonatal and pediatric care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalTransfusion medicine reviews
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • Blood conservation
  • Children
  • Patient blood management
  • Pediatrics
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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