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News1996September › Premature babies don't need blood › September 1996

Premature babies don't need blood

Premature babies are at great risk of suffering brain injury, so they are routinely given transfusions as a preventative

Premature babies are at great risk of suffering brain injury, so they are routinely given transfusions as a preventative. But new research has discovered that the procedure is worthless.

Researchers found that premature babies given fresh frozen plasma (FFP) were no better off two years later than those who had not been given the treatment.

This new research, involving 776 babies born at least eight weeks prematurely, contradicts earlier and smaller trials which had indicated that the procedure was beneficial. Researchers from the Neonatal Nursing Initiative Trial Group gave the babies either FFP, a gelatin based plasma substitute, or a glucose substitute and checked them two years later to discover there was virtually no difference in the three groups in terms of severe disability or death.

!AThe Lancet, 1996; 348: 229-32.


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