Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Blood Transfusions for Premature Babies
(KUTV) Doctors are doing a new kind of blood transfusions for babies born prematurely – one that involves the baby’s placenta.
“We have the delivering obstetrician, when he is holding the baby and the placenta or afterbirth is still attached to the mother, we have him or her gently, between thumb and forefinger, milk or strip some of the baby’s own blood into the baby before the cord is clamped,” says Dr. Robert Christensen, a neonatologist at McKay-Dee Hospital.
He says this process also cuts down on chances that a premature baby would need a blood transfusion.
“We can draw a lot of blood from a tiny, premature baby, and when we do, we have to call our blood bank for donor blood to replace what we have drawn out.”
The cost of that kind of transfusion is not cheap. Dr. Christensen says it costs hundreds of dollars for just one transfusion.
But now doctors can use the baby’s own blood for critical medical tests.
“That blood in a tiny, premature baby has not just the red blood cells that we might get from donor blood, but it’s got white blood cells, it’s got platelets, it has plasma, it has antibodies, it has stem cells. It has everything that the baby needs and it is all his or her own blood,” says Christensen.
Hospitals all over the world are now using placenta blood for premature babies.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)