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Clinical Trial Summary

The WHEAT International trial is a comparative effectiveness trial exploring whether withholding enteral feeds around the time of blood transfusion in very premature infants (<30 weeks) will reduce the occurrence of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). Currently both continued feeding and withholding feeding are approved care practices. The current study will randomize infants from Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) into one of the two care approaches (withholding or continued feeds) to determine if any significant outcomes are found.


Clinical Trial Description

BACKGROUND: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that affects mostly the intestine of premature infants. The wall of the intestine is invaded by bacteria, which cause local infection and inflammation that can ultimately destroy the wall of the bowel (intestine). NEC is among the most potentially devastating neonatal diseases and has a mortality of up to 33%, the most severe form (requiring surgery or resulting in death) affects about 5% of infants born at less than 30 gestational weeks; survivors are at high risk of long-term health and developmental problems. Prevention of NEC has been identified as one of the most important research uncertainties in the field of preterm birth. A temporal association between red cell transfusion and the subsequent development of the disease is well described. This 'transfusion-associated NEC' may also be more severe with higher mortality. Very preterm or extremely low birth weight infants are among the most frequently transfused patients: between 56% and 90-95% have at least one transfusion, and those transfused received an average of 5 transfusions in their neonatal stay. Withholding milk feeds during red cell transfusion may reduce the risk of NEC by decreasing postprandial mesenteric ischemia but there may be harmful effects of pausing enteral feeds. However, due to a lack of good quality evidence, there is no consensus regarding the optimal feeding strategy during a blood transfusion. Both comparator pathways of care are standard practice in Canada and the UK; the WHEAT trial is a comparative effectiveness trial. The two care pathways that will be compared are: 1. Withholding Feeds Around Transfusion: All enteral feeds will be discontinued (the infant will be placed nil by mouth) for 4 hours prior to packed red cell transfusion, during the packed red cell transfusion and until 4 hours post packed red cell transfusion. 2. Continuing Feeds Around Transfusion: Enteral feeds will continue to be given prior, during and after the packed red cell transfusion, in the manner in which they were being given prior to the decision to transfuse. Infants will remain allocated to the same care pathway until 34(+6) weeks(+days) gestational age. ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT05213806
Study type Interventional
Source IWK Health Centre
Contact Emily MacLeod
Phone 9024706679
Email [email protected]
Status Recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date January 28, 2022
Completion date March 31, 2025

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