OBJECTIVE: A cross-sectional, observational study of outcomes for neonates with severe neonatal thrombocytopenia (SNT; platelet count of <60 × 109 platelets per L) was performed to examine hemorrhage and use of platelet transfusions.

METHODS: Neonates who were admitted to 7 NICUs and developed SNT were enrolled for daily data collection.

RESULTS: Among 3652 neonatal admissions, 194 neonates (5%) developed SNT. The median gestational age of 169 enrolled neonates was 27 weeks (interquartile range [IQR]: 24–32 weeks), and the median birth weight was 822 g (IQR: 670–1300 g). Platelet count nadirs were <20 × 109, 20 to 39 × 109, and 40 to 59 × 109 platelets per L for 58 (34%), 64 (39%), and 47 (28%) of all enrolled infants, respectively. During the study, 31 infants (18%) had no recorded hemorrhage, 123 (73%) developed minor hemorrhage, and 15 (9%) developed major hemorrhage. Thirteen (87%) of 15 episodes of major hemorrhage occurred in neonates with gestational ages of <28 weeks. Platelet transfusions (n = 415) were administered to 116 infants (69%); for 338 (81%) transfusions, the main recorded reason was low platelet count. Transfusions increased the platelet count from a median of 27 × 109 platelets per L (IQR: 19–36 × 109 platelets per L) to 79 × 109 platelets per L (IQR: 47.5–127 × 109 platelets per L).

CONCLUSIONS: Although one third of neonates enrolled in this study developed thrombocytopenia of <20 × 109 platelets per L, 91% did not develop major hemorrhage. Most platelet transfusions were given to neonates with thrombocytopenia with no bleeding or minor bleeding only.

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