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Exchange transfusion for hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia: could some be averted by emergent administration of an inhibitor of bilirubin production?

Abstract

Objectives

The objective of this study is to explore the hypothetical number of neonates where an exchange transfusion (ET) could be prevented by emergency administration of an inhibitor of bilirubin production.

Study design

We identified all neonates who received an ET in our NICUs during the past 12 years. We reviewed the indications for ET and recorded the time between ordering and beginning the exchange.

Results

Forty-six neonates underwent ET, 37 (80.4%) for hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia (36.9 ± 2.9 weeks gestation and 2.5 ± 2.1 days old at ET). The mean delay period was 7.5 ± 3.5 h. Nine (19.6%) had ET not involving bilirubin.

Conclusions

A trial testing compounds that can inhibit bilirubin production would have about three eligible neonates/years in our system. Since our births are 1% of national, up to 300 neonates/years might qualify for such a study.

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Fig. 1: Annual exchange transfusions.

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Code availability

R code used for analysis is available by e-mail request from the corresponding author.

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Correspondence to Timothy M. Bahr.

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In 2019, RDC served as a consultant to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Inc, St. Louis, MO. None of the other authors has any conflict of interest.

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Wiedmeier, S.E., Bahr, T.M., Ohls, R.K. et al. Exchange transfusion for hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia: could some be averted by emergent administration of an inhibitor of bilirubin production?. J Perinatol 41, 860–864 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-020-0736-8

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