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Neonatal Transfusion Network

Research Project

Research project

INSPIRE-Study

International Neonatal tranSfusion PoInt pREvalence Study

Introduction

Premature neonates are highly transfused patients, though robust evidence supporting neonatal transfusion practice is scarce. There are no international neonatal transfusion guidelines that have been implemented by Europe as a whole, resulting in significant variation in transfusion practice within Europe. Recent consensus meetings and scientific reviews underline the need for high quality, global epidemiologic data as a first step towards improving neonatal transfusion medicine.

Study description

In this prospective, European, multicenter, observational prevalence study, we will include neonates with a gestational age of less than 32 weeks at birth who are admitted to a participating tertiary level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Over 60 NICUs from 16 European countries will participate in the INSPIRE-Study. We aim to describe the prevalence, indications, adverse effects, and component specifications of RBC, platelet, and plasma transfusions in preterm neonates.

Importance of the study

The INSPIRE-Study will provide a picture of current neonatal transfusion practices within Europe, which can be used to identify current neonatal transfusion practices that can be improved, to promote adherence to evidence-based transfusion guidelines, and to inform future randomized controlled trials.

Status

The study protocol has been finalized and is under review for ethical approval by the coordinating center. 

Neonatal transfusion research

Why is research on neonatal transfusion practices so important?
  • Neonates receive blood transfusions even though they might not be effective or could be harmful, as current transfusion guidelines are not supported by sufficient evidence and existing evidence has not yet been incorporated into clinical practice.
  • Whilst the neonatal population may seem small, over the next 20 years, approximately 1 million infants in Europe will receive a transfusion while being a premature newborn. The potential short- and long-term effects of these transfusions should therefore not be underestimated.
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