BACKGROUND: Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO) are the leading causes of transfusion-related fatalities. While these transfusion-related pulmonary complications (TRPCs) have been well detailed in adults, their burden in pediatric subsets remains poorly defined. We sought to delineate the incidence and epidemiology of pediatric TRPCs after intraoperative blood product transfusion.
METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we evaluated all consecutive pediatric patients receiving intraoperative blood product transfusions during noncardiac surgeries between January 2010 and December 2014. Exclusion criteria were cyanotic heart disease, preoperative respiratory insufficiency, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status VI. Medical records were electronically screened to identify those with evidence of hypoxemia, and in whom a chest x-ray was obtained within 24 hours of surgery. Records were then manually reviewed by 2 physicians to determine whether they met diagnostic criteria for TACO or TRALI. Disagreements were adjudicated by a third senior physician.
RESULTS: Of 19,288 unique pediatric surgical patients, 411 were eligible for inclusion. The incidence of TRPCs was 3.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2–5.9). TACO occurred in 3.4% (95% CI, 2.0–5.6) of patients, TRALI was identified in 1.2% (95% CI, 0.5–2.8), and 1.0% (95% CI, 0.4–2.5) had evidence for both TRALI and TACO. Incidence was not different between males (3.4%) and females (3.8%; P = .815). Although a trend toward an increased incidence of TRPCs was observed in younger patients, this did not reach statistical significance (P = .109). Incidence was comparable across subsets of transfusion volume (P = .184) and surgical specialties (P = .088). Among the 15 patients experiencing TRPCs, red blood cells were administered to 13 subjects, plasma to 3, platelets to 3, cryoprecipitate to 2, and autologous blood to 3. Three patients with TRCPs were transfused mixed blood components.
CONCLUSIONS: TRPCs occurred in 3.6% of transfused pediatric surgical patients, with the majority of cases attributable to TACO, congruent with adult literature. The frequency of TRPCs was comparable between genders and across surgical procedures and transfusion volumes. The observed trend toward increased TRPCs in younger children warrants further consideration in future investigations. Red blood cell administration was the associated component for the majority of TRPCs, although platelets demonstrated the highest risk per component transfused. Mitigation of perioperative risk associated with TRPCs in pediatric patients is reliant on further multiinstitutional studies powered to examine patterns and predictors of this highly morbid entity.