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Oct 31

Pathophysiology of Anemia During the Neonatal Period, Including Anemia of Prematurity

  1. John A. Widness , MD *

  1. 2. Department of Pediatrics, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Ia

This particular review summarizes the current thinking about the factors behind anemia universally experienced by preterm babies in the early postnatal weeks. Along with describing developmentally determined physiologic procedures contributing to anemia of prematurity, this review discusses clinically important nonphysiologic contributors to anemia experienced by preterm infants during the neonatal period. Main among these and an important contributor to the need for red blood cellular transfusions is the heavy laboratory phlebotomy loss sustained shortly after birth, whenever neonatal cardiorespiratory illness is most severe. Understanding and recognizing the physiologic and nonphysiologic processes contributing to anemia encountered in early postnatal life is important in knowing which treatment and prevention modalities are likely to be most effective in different clinical situations. The evaluation of rare and uncommon acquired and genetic causes of anemia in newborns are not covered in this review.

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