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Transfusion-Associated Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Translating Knowledge Into Nursing Practice

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Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a leading cause of prolonged hospitalizations for premature infants in the United States. In a recent large retrospective study, a significant proportion of NEC cases were shown to occur within 48 hours of packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusion, especially in growing preterm neonates of older postnatal age. A small body of evidence consistently demonstrates that 25-35 percent of NEC cases are temporally associated with PRBC transfusion and that cases of NEC associated with transfusion are generally more severe with a higher rate of surgical intervention and mortality. Awareness of this association is vital for potential prevention and early recognition of NEC. The neonatal nurse has a primary role in care strategies that may affect NEC. This review of literature was compiled to educate neonatal nurses about the existence of transfusion-associated necrotizing enterocolitis and guide the translation of knowledge into nursing practice at the bedside.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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