The acute effect of packed red blood cell transfusion in mechanically ventilated children after the Norwood operation


Division of Cardiology, Advocate Children's Hospital


Packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions are commonly administered in pediatric patients following the Norwood operation. This study was conducted to determine the effect of PRBC transfusions on hemodynamic parameters in pediatric patients with single-ventricle physiology and parallel circulation. A single-center, retrospective chart review was conducted. Pediatric patients admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit after Norwood operation between 2017 and 2018 were identified. Hemodynamic parameters were collected within a four-hour period before and after a PRBC transfusion. Univariate analyses using paired t tests were conducted to compare blood gas values before and after PRBC transfusion. Next, multivariate regression analyses were conducted to model the impact of transfusion volume, change in hemoglobin levels, and change in FiO2 on the change in PaO2 and PaCO2. These analyses included data from 33 eligible patients who received a PRBC transfusion following a Norwood operation. The hemoglobin levels (p < 0.01) and the PaO2/FiO2 ratio (p = 0.04) were significantly increased, while arterial lactate levels (p = 0.03) were significantly decreased following the transfusion. Transfusion for a pre-transfusion hemoglobin of 12.4 g/dL appears to provide greatest reduction in lactate, used as a surrogate marker for systemic oxygen delivery. No significant changes were found in arterial pH, PaO2, and PaCO2. PRBC transfusions following the Norwood operation may be a useful intervention to increase systemic oxygen delivery, improving PaO2/FiO2 ratio and improving serum lactate. The benefits of PRBC transfusions must be weighed against previously identified risks on a patient-specific basis. Further studies are warranted to further delineate the effects of such transfusions in this population.

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