What is the effect of fresh red blood cells on organ dysfunction in critically ill pediatric patients?
In a randomized clinical trial involving 1538 critically ill pediatric patients, there were no significant differences in organ dysfunction between fresh (20.2%) and standard-issue red blood cell groups (18.2%).
This study did not demonstrate a benefit in the use of fresh red blood cell transfusions for critically ill children.
The clinical consequences of red blood cell storage age for critically ill pediatric patients have not been examined in a large, randomized clinical trial.
To determine if the transfusion of fresh red blood cells (stored ≤7 days) reduced new or progressive multiple organ dysfunction syndrome compared with the use of standard-issue red blood cells in critically ill children.
Design, Setting, and Participants
The Age of Transfused Blood in Critically-Ill Children trial was an international, multicenter, blinded, randomized clinical trial, performed between February 2014 and November 2018 in 50 tertiary care centers. Pediatric patients between the ages of 3 days and 16 years were eligible if the first red blood cell transfusion was administered within 7 days of intensive care unit admission. A total of 15 568 patients were screened, and 13 308 were excluded.
Patients were randomized to receive either fresh or standard-issue red blood cells. A total of 1538 patients were randomized with 768 patients in the fresh red blood cell group and 770 in the standard-issue group.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome measure was new or progressive multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, measured for 28 days or to discharge or death.
Among 1538 patients who were randomized, 1461 patients (95%) were included in the primary analysis (median age, 1.8 years; 47.3% girls), in which there were 728 patients randomized to the fresh red blood cell group and 733 to the standard-issue group. The median storage duration was 5 days (interquartile range [IQR], 4-6 days) in the fresh group vs 18 days (IQR, 12-25 days) in the standard-issue group (P < .001). There were no significant differences in new or progressive multiple organ dysfunction syndrome between fresh (147 of 728 [20.2%]) and standard-issue red blood cell groups (133 of 732 [18.2%]), with an unadjusted absolute risk difference of 2.0% (95% CI, –2.0% to 6.1%; P = .33). The prevalence of sepsis was 25.8% (160 of 619) in the fresh group and 25.3% (154 of 608) in the standard-issue group. The prevalence of acute respiratory distress syndrome was 6.6% (41 of 619) in the fresh group and 4.8% (29 of 608) in the standard-issue group. Intensive care unit mortality was 4.5% (33 of 728) in the fresh group vs 3.5 % (26 of 732) in the standard-issue group (P = .34).
Conclusions and Relevance
Among critically ill pediatric patients, the use of fresh red blood cells did not reduce the incidence of new or progressive multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (including mortality) compared with standard-issue red blood cells.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01977547
Spinella PC, Tucci M, Fergusson DA, et al. Effect of Fresh vs Standard-issue Red Blood Cell Transfusions on Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome in Critically Ill Pediatric Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2019;322(22):2179–2190. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.17478
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