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Are single-donor red blood cell transfusions still relevant for preterm infants?



To explore the worth of a single-donor program for preterm infants through the recipient profile and the impact on donor exposure, red blood cell (RBC) pack waste, storage duration, and transfusion performance.

Study design

Patients and transfusion characteristics were collected for 3 years (2015–2017) in preterm infants according to single-donor program prescription in a unit not practicing placental transfusion or erythropoietin supplementation.


Among 1048 eligible preterm infants, 161 met the inclusion criteria, and 51 received single-donor packs. Our single-donor program induced a donor number reduction (34% less than the transfusion number) and an extension of storage duration (median: 9 versus 7 days, p < 0.0001) without altering the transfusion performance. However, 41% of small packs were not used.


A single-donor program partially reduced donor exposure but led to drastic RBC pack waste. Optimization of transfusion alternatives may increase this phenomenon, calling into question the rationale of this practice.

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Fig. 1: RBC pack storage duration according to the single-donor program.
Fig. 2: RBC transfusion performance according to storage duration.


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Author information




GF designed the study protocol, obtained ethics approval, performed preliminary and final data analysis and wrote the paper. EG actively participated in patient screening and enrollment, participated in preliminary and final data analysis and contributed to the writing of the paper. BH and J-YP provided RBC pack information (i.e., RBC pack identification, RBC pack volume and storage duration) and contributed to the writing and critical reading of the paper. ES contributed to the writing and critical reading of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Geraldine Favrais.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Gouache, E., Py, JY., Hérault, B. et al. Are single-donor red blood cell transfusions still relevant for preterm infants?. J Perinatol 40, 1075–1082 (2020).

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