Objective: To test the hypothesis that transfusion of leukocyte-depleted RBC preparations within the first 48 hours of PICU stay was independently associated with prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation, irrespective of surgery type and disease severity.
Design: Retrospective, observational study.
Setting: Single-center PICU in The Netherlands.
Patients: Children less than 18 years consecutively admitted after pediatric cardiac surgery between February 2007 and February 2010.
Measurements and Main Results: Data from 335 patients were used for analysis of whom 86 (25.7%) were transfused during the first 48 hours of PICU stay. Duration of mechanical ventilation (115 ± 19 hours vs. 25 ± 4 hours, p < 0.001) was longer among transfused patients. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (10.5% vs. 1.6%, odds ratio 7.2; 95% confidence interval 1.92–32.47; p < 0.001) was more frequent among transfused patients. New acute kidney injury after 48 hours of PICU admission (23.9% vs. 15.4%, p = 0.18) and mortality were comparable (2.3% vs. 4%, p = 0.16). The number of discrete transfusion events was significantly correlated with the duration of mechanical ventilation (Spearman’s rho 0.617, p < 0.001). Transfusion remained independently associated with prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation after adjusting for confounders using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis.
Conclusions: Transfusion of leukocyte-depleted RBCs within the first 48 hours of PICU stay after cardiac surgery is independently associated with prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation.