BACKGROUND: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is used to treat a variety of diseases in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Although audits have reported on the spectrum of IVIG use in adults, the indications and utilization in neonates has not been investigated. The objectives of this study were to describe the usage pattern of and indications for IVIG in a tertiary care NICU.
RESULTS: Thirty-seven neonates received IVIG over the 11-year period. Twenty-three (67%) were treated for hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN); 13 treatments were ABO related, six were anti-D related, and four were for clinically significant antibodies. Fourteen (33%) were treated for non-HDN causes, including eight for septic neonates, two for neonates with necrotizing enterocolitis, two for neonates with a clinically significant antibody but without evidence of hemolysis, and two for neonates with glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. A complete hemolytic workup was not performed consistently before the receipt of IVIG.
CONCLUSION: This novel assessment of IVIG use in the NICU revealed the spectrum of disease for which IVIG is ordered. This study also found that key diagnostic tests needed to confirm an immune etiology for idiopathic jaundice are not performed routinely before IVIG receipt.Neonatal transfusion-related databases are needed to carry out pragmatic clinical trials to establish better evidence-based guidelines for IVIG therapy in the NICU.