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Fresh red blood cell transfusions do not help critically ill children more than older cells

Dec 20, 2019 – A large international, multicenter, randomized clinical trial designed and conducted by members of our team showed no benefit in using fresh red blood cells — cells stored for a maximum of 7 days — over older red blood cells in critically ill pediatric patients receiving transfusion within 7 days of ICU admission.

This trial is one of the largest clinical trials to investigate red blood cell storage in critically ill children. Results shed light on a controversial aspect of transfusion medicine that has been understudied, and should reassure doctors that the standard practice is just as effective in these children, who are among the sickest and most fragile of patients.

Study findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, December 10, 2019;322(22):2179-2190).

Effect of Fresh vs Standard-issue Red Blood Cell Transfusions on Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome in Critically Ill Pediatric Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Philip C. Spinella et coll., for the ABC-PICU Investigators, the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury and Sepsis Investigators Network, the BloodNet Pediatric Critical Care Blood Research Network, and the Groupe Francophone de Réanimation et Urgences Pédiatriques.