Restrictive management of neonatal polycythemia

Iris Morag*, Tzipora Strauss, Daniel Lubin, Irit Schushan-Eisen, Gili Kenet, Jacob Kuint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Partial exchange transfusion (PET) is traditionally suggested as treatment for neonates diagnosed with polycythemia. Nevertheless, justification of this treatment is controversial. We evaluated the risk for short-term complications associated with a restrictive treatment protocol for neonatal polycythemia. A retrospective cross-sectional analytical study was conducted. Three treatment groups were defined and managed according to their degree of polycythemia, defined by capillary tube filled with venous blood and manually centrifuged hematocrit: group 1, hematocrit 65 to 69% and no special treatment was recommended; group 2, hematocrit 70 to 75% and intravenous fluids were given and feedings were withheld until hematocrit decreased to <70%; and group 3, hematocrit 76% or symptomatic neonates and PET was recommended. During the study period, 190 neonates were diagnosed with polycythemia. The overall rate of short-term complications was 15% (28 neonates). Seizures, proven necrotizing enterocolitis, or thrombosis did not occur in any participating neonates. PET was performed in 31 (16%) neonates. The groups did not differ in their rate of early neonatal morbidities or length of hospitalization. Restrictive treatment for neonatal asymptomatic polycythemia is not associated with an increased risk of short-term complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-682
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Polycythemia
  • neonate
  • treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Restrictive management of neonatal polycythemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this