Allogeneic blood product transfusion is common in pediatric patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass although it is associated with an increased risk for adverse events. Furthermore, numerous donor exposures may affect future blood transfusion needs and human leukocyte antigen matching for patients who may ultimately require cardiac transplantation. Autologous intraoperative blood collection and retransfusion is a known method of blood preservation, but has not been extensively practiced in pediatric patients. In this study we assess the feasibility of this blood conservation technique in small children with complex congenital heart defects undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass.
After Institutional Review Board approval, we retrospectively reviewed the medical records of children weighing <10 kg who underwent cardiopulmonary bypass over a 2‐year period. Eighteen patients underwent autologous intraoperative blood collection and retransfusion and comprised the study group. Eighteen control patients were chosen by a 1:1 matched design using preoperative hematocrit, surgical procedure, and body weight. Multiple corresponding demographic and surgical variables, transfusion data, and clinical outcomes were compared.
Patient demographics, operative parameters and preoperative laboratory, and coagulation values were similar between the two groups. Despite the removal of autologous blood, study patients did not require more inotropic support prior to cardiopulmonary bypass. They also did not experience a significant increase in bleeding as measured by 24‐hour postoperative chest tube output. Study patients were exposed to significantly fewer donor units intraoperatively and within the first 24 hours postoperatively.
The use of autologous intraoperative blood collection and retransfusion is a feasible option for small children with complex congenital heart defects undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass. Study patients received significantly fewer donor exposures without an increase in postoperative bleeding. Children who require multiple cardiac surgeries or eventually transplantation could benefit from this blood conservation technique.