The aim is To estimate the incidence of blood product transfusion, including red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, and characterize pretransfusion hematologic values for infants during their initial hospitalization after birth. Retrospective cohort study using data from 7 geographically diverse US academic and community hospitals that participated in the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III) from 2013 to 2016. Pretransfusion hematologic values were evaluated closest to each transfusion and no more than 24 hours beforehand. The median pretransfusion hemoglobin was 11.2 g/dL (10th-90th percentile 8.8-14.1) for the entire cohort, ranging from 10.5 g/dL (8.8-12.3) for infants born extremely preterm at <27 weeks of gestation to 13.0 g/dL (10.5-15.5) for infants born at term. The median pretransfusion platelet count (×109/L) was 71 (10th-90th percentile 26-135) for the entire cohort and was >45 for all gestational age groups examined. The median pretransfusion international normalized ratio for the entire cohort was 1.7 (10th-90th percentile 1.2-2.8).

There is wide variability in pretransfusion hemoglobin, platelet count, and international normalized ratio values for neonatal transfusions. Our findings suggest that a large proportion of neonatal transfusions in the US are administered at thresholds greater than supported by the best available evidence and highlight an opportunity for improved patient blood management.

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