Since 1973, over 3,000 newborns have been treated worldwide for respiratory failure with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO requires transfusion of numerous blood products including platelets and packed red blood cells. Transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) developed in one of the authors' patients following treatment with ECMO. ECMO exposes newborn infants to a large number of blood components. Although a rare complication, GVHD can be prevented by irradiating blood products prior to transfusion. We now irradiate all blood products prior to use during ECMO and recommend that other institutions do the same.
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
- graft-versus-host disease
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