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Cell saver blood transfusions may be associated with a decrease in inflammation and improved outcome measures in pediatric cardiac surgery patients.

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Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is a requisite for correction of congenital heart disease by open-heart surgery and induces a systemic inflammatory response that can lead to complications such as acute lung injury and acute kidney injury. In addition, blood transfusions are commonly required for this type of surgery, and they may further exacerbate this inflammatory response and increase morbidity and mortality. We hypothesized that, in contrast to red blood cells, intraoperative cell saver (CS) blood transfusions attenuate the post-CPB proinflammatory cytokine response.


Serum cytokine concentrations of IL-10, IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α were measured at four time points (preoperatively and postoperatively on postoperative days 0, 1, and 2).


Anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels were significantly lower in the CS group on POD 0 than in the control group (mean 1083.2 pg/mL vs 2080.2 pg/mL, 95%CI 357.4-1636.6, p = .0026). Of the clinical parameters measured, mean BUN and creatinine levels on POD 2 were significantly lower in the CS group (13.79 vs 21.88, p = .004 and 0.45 vs 0.55, p = .055, respectively). In addition, the duration of milrinone use decreased by 80% in the CS group (0.20, 95%CI 0.04, 0.94; p = .048), the median time to extubation in hours was significantly lower in the CS group (3.5 vs 6.5; 95%CI -38.00, -0.50; p = .026), and hospital length of stay was decreased by 60% in the CS group (p = .003).


CS transfusions in children may lower postoperative anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels, possibly due to an overall decrease in proinflammatory state, and may be associated with improvements in renal and pulmonary functions.

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