Whole blood versus red cell concentrates for children with severe anaemia: a secondary analysis of the Transfusion and Treatment of African Children (TRACT) trial

Elizabeth George, Sophie Uyoga, Bridon M'baya, Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazair, Sarah Kiguli, Peter Olupot-Olupot, Robert Opoka, George Chagaluka, Florence Alaroker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



The TRACT trial established the timing of transfusion in children with uncomplicated anaemia (haemoglobin 4–6 g/dL) and the optimal volume (20 vs 30 mL/kg whole blood or 10 vs 15 mL/kg red cell concentrates) for transfusion in children admitted to hospital with severe anaemia (haemoglobin vs red cell concentrates) on clinical outcomes.


This study is a secondary analysis of the TRACT trial data restricted to those who received an immediate transfusion (using whole blood or red cell concentrates). TRACT was an open-label, multicenter, factorial, randomized trial conducted in three hospitals in Uganda (Soroti, Mbale, and Mulago) and one hospital in Malawi (Blantyre). The trial enrolled children aged between 2 months and 12 years admitted to hospital with severe anaemia (haemoglobin Findings

Between Sept 17, 2014, and May 15, 2017, 3199 children with severe anaemia were enrolled into the TRACT trial. 3188 children were considered in our secondary analysis. The median age was 37 months (IQR 18–64). Whole blood was the first pack provided for 1632 (41%) of 3992 transfusions. Hemoglobin recovery at 8 h was significantly lower in those who received packed cells or settled cells than those who received whole blood, with a mean of 1·4 g/dL (95% CI –1·6 to –1·1) in children who received 30 mL/kg and –1·3 g/dL (–1·5 to –1·0) in those who received 20 mL/kg packed cells versus whole blood, and –1·5 g/dL (–1·7 to –1·3) in those who received 30 mL/kg and –1·0 g/dL (–1·2 to –0·9) in those who received 20 mL/kg settled cells versus whole blood (overall pInterpretation

Our study suggests that the use of packed or settled cells rather than whole blood leads to additional transfusions, increasing the use of a scarce resource in most of sub-Saharan Africa. These findings have substantial cost implications for blood transfusion and health services. Nevertheless, a clinical trial comparing whole blood transfusion with red cell concentrates might be needed to inform policy makers.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

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