Objective:To reassess iron supplementation practice safety in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants receiving restrictive red blood cell transfusions during initial hospitalization.Study Design:Iron status, including hemoglobin (Hb), serum iron, ferritin, and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) levels and reticulocyte count of transfused (n236) and non-transfused (n166) preterm infants at 24 h and 2, 4 and 8 weeks were recorded. As per protocol, a restrictive blood transfusion policy and supplementation of 5 mg kg -1per day of iron polymaltose complex from 4 weeks and 25 mg -1 per day of vitamin E from 2 weeks were imposed for all infants. Normative reference cord-blood ferritin value of preterm infants was used for comparison. Vitamin E levels and incidence of morbidities associated with prematurity were recorded.Result:At 24 h, the characteristics and iron status of both groups were similar. At 2, 4 and 8 weeks, the transfused group had significantly higher Hb, iron and ferritin levels; sTfR levels were lower at 4 and 8 weeks (all indices, P<0.05). At 8 weeks, the median ferritin levels of our transfused group were lower than that of normative reference cord-blood value (115 (50th percentile) vs 79 (43 to 107) g l-1, respectively). Vitamin E levels and the incidence of morbidities associated with prematurity of the transfused and non-transfused groups were not different (both indices, P0.18).Conclusion:Adding iron supplementation to preterm infants receiving restrictive blood transfusions has shown to be a judicious and safe practice in terms of iron status for VLBW preterm infants.
- red blood cell transfusion
- soluble transferrin receptor