Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Phramongkutklao Hospital and College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand. Department of Pediatrics, Fort Prachaksilapakhom Hospital, Udonthani, Thailand.
PURPOSE Red blood cell transfusion is a key element of treatment among patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT). Volume overload and HCC syndrome (hypertension, convulsion, and intracranial hemorrhage) are fatal complications related to transfusion. Furosemide has been widely used to prevent hypertension secondary to volume overload with unclear supportive evidence. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of furosemide to prevent
volume overload among children and young adults diagnosed with TDT. METHODS Patients diagnosed with TDT were enrolled and randomized to receive either furosemide pretransfusion or no furosemide pretransfusion. After 3 weeks to 4 months of wash-out periods, those patients underwent the alternate regimens as per crossover design of the study. Clinical and laboratory parameters including blood pressure and NT-proBNP levels were measured before and after each transfusion. The difference of those parameters between two randomized groups and their potential associated factors were analyzed. RESULTS In all, 30 patients undergoing 60 red blood cell transfusions were enrolled in the study. All were randomized and crossover was designed as receiving and not receiving furosemide pretransfusion. No transfusion reactions, symptoms of volume overload and HCC syndrome were observed. No statistically significant correlation was found between pretransfusion furosemide and the difference between pre- and posttransfusion systolic blood pressure (2 mmHg systolic blood pressure difference in pretransfusion furosemide and 1.5 mmHg in no pretransfusion furosemide; p-value = 0.721), as well as between pretransfusion furosemide and the difference between pre- and posttransfusion NT-proBNP levels (-3.8 pg/mL NT-proBNP level difference in pretransfusion furosemide and -2.4 pg/mL in no pretransfusion furosemide; p-value = 0.490). No significant correlation was also observed even in selected patients with high NT-proBNP levels (p-value = 0.262). Associated factors affecting the difference between pre- and posttransfusion NT-proBNP levels were analyzed, and none of those were affected concerning the difference in the levels. CONCLUSION Furosemide has been included in standard transfusion guidelines in many institutions. Our study provided important evidence of the unnecessary use of the drug in preventing volume overload particularly in pediatric and young adult patients with TDT. THAI CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRY TCTR NUMBER TCTR20180209001. Registered 6 February 2018, https://www.clinicaltrials.in.th/.