Effect of withholding feeds on transfusion-related acute gut injury in preterm infants: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Suzan Sahin, H. Gozde Kanmaz Kutman, Ozlem Bozkurt, Funda Yavanoglu Atay, F. Emre Canpolat, Nurdan Uras, S. Suna Oguz, Mark A. Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Several retrospective studies have reported an increase in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) during the 48 h following red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. Whether withholding enteral feeding during transfusion decreases the risk of transfusion-associated acute gut injury (TRAGI) in preterm infants is unclear. Study design and methods: In this pilot study, 112 preterm infants with gestational age ≤32 weeks and/or birth weight ≤1500 g were randomly assigned to withholding (NPO) or continuance of feeding (FED) during RBC transfusion. Primary outcome measure was development of NEC (stage ≥ 2) within 72 h of a transfusion and the change in abdominal circumference. Results: One hundred fifty-four transfusion episodes (74 NPO and 80 FED) were analyzed. Demographic characteristics were found to be similar in both groups. There was no difference in rates of NEC (0 versus 3.4%; p =.49) between the NPO and FED groups. The incidence of feeding intolerance was higher in the FED group; however, it was statistically insignificant (1.9 versus 6.8%, p =.36). Abdominal circumference remained similar in both groups in all three consecutive days following transfusion (p>.05). Conclusion: This pilot study does not support withholding feedings during transfusion but is not adequately powered to test the hypothesis that NPO decreases NEC rates. Adequately powered well-designed multicenter trials are still required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Feeding
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Perfusion Index
  • prematurity
  • transfusion
  • transfusion-associated necrotizing enterocolitis (TANEC)
  • withholding feeds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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