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NEC, Anemia, Transfusion, RBC, Intestinal injury

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In the past 15 years, multiple clinical studies have identified a temporal association between red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). With some variability, most of these studies indicate that up to one-third of all cases of NEC involving very low-birth weight infants may occur within 24–48 h after receiving a RBC transfusion. There is also evidence that the risk of such transfusion-associated NEC may be higher in infants transfused with the greatest severity of anemia. In this article, we summarize the clinical evidence pertaining to these issues; specifically, the contribution of RBC transfusions, and the contribution of severity of underlying anemia, to the pathogenesis of a type of NEC potentially termed, “transfusion/anemia-associated NEC.”

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Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, v. 27, issue 1, p. 47-51

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