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Postoperative coagulopathy among otherwise healthy pediatric patients undergoing open craniosynostosis repair: a retrospective study

January 14, 2023

Abstract
Significant blood loss and resultant transfusion may lead to coagulopathy. The need for routine transfusion of non-RBC blood products in healthy pediatric patients suffering significant, yet controlled, intra-operative blood loss is controversial. Open craniosynostosis surgery is often associated with significant intra-operative blood loss and transfusion, and routinely preformed on otherwise healthy pediatric patients. Therefore, we found it as a useful model for our study, which aimed to assess the need for routine transfusion of non-RBC blood products in healthy pediatric patients suffering significant intra-operative blood loss. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of otherwise healthy pediatric patients, undergoing open craniosynostosis surgery and transfused solely with packed red blood cells (pRBCs) in a single large-volume tertiary surgical center, between January 2010 and December 2021. Among 457 eligible patients, 34 (7.4%) developed significant postoperative coagulopathy. Median [IQR] intra-operative pRBC transfusion volume was 17.4 ml kg −1 [13.3, 23.1]. Patients who developed coagulopathy did not have higher postoperative pRBC transfusion rate (8.8% vs 3.8%, P = 0.16) or volume (median [IQR], 0 [0, 0] vs 0 [0, 0] ml, P = 0.15), nor higher hospital LOS (5 [4, 5] vs 5 [4, 5] days, P = 0.66). ICU LOS was 0.8 [0.7, 1] vs 0.7 [0.6, 0.8] days (P = 0.02), a difference of no clinical significance.
Conclusions:
The incidence of significant coagulopathy after craniosynostosis surgery was low, and not associated with clinically important complications. In otherwise healthy pediatric patients, even significant intra-operative blood loss can be safely managed solely with intravenous fluids and pRBC transfusion.