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Transfusion-Associated Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Evidence and Uncertainty

Gephart, Sheila M. PhD, RN

Section Editor(s): McGrath, Jacqueline

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31825e20ee
Evidence-Based Practice Brief

Transfusion-associated necrotizing enterocolitis (TANEC) has been described as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) that arises within 48 hours of a blood transfusion. It has been shown to be associated with 25% to 35% of NEC cases in recent studies. Evidence related to TANEC is limited to observational, retrospective studies. Infants who develop TANEC tend to be smaller, born preterm, more severely ill, and develop NEC after 30 days of age. Evidence in 2 studies support holding feedings during transfusion to protect the preterm gut from the cascade of events that lead to NEC, but higher quality research, including prospective randomized controlled trials, is needed to evaluate the effect of feeding on TANEC.

College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Correspondence: Sheila M. Gephart, PhD, RN, University of Arizona College of Nursing, PO Box 210203, Tucson, AZ 85721 (

This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Nursing Research (1F31NR012333-01A1) and the Friends of Yuma. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Nursing Research or the National Institutes of Health. The author thanks Ms Sandy Kramer, research librarian, for assisting in the literature search.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2012 National Association of Neonatal Nurses