Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells. Since red blood cells carry
oxygen throughout the body, anemia can deprive the body of needed oxygen. Low
oxygen levels (oxygenation) in a premature infant can lead to medical
complications or make complications worse.
Common causes of anemia in premature infants include:
By Francesca L. Kritz
Consult Your Doctor
One night a few summers ago, when my 18-month-old daughter's mosquito bites
were making her itchy, cranky, and sleepless, I went to a 24-hour pharmacy to
buy antihistamine. It wasn't until I got home that I read the package
instructions: for children under 6, consult physician. By then it was after
10:00 p.m., and I didn't want to bother her doctor. So I guessed and gave Dina
a teaspoonful. As it turns out, the amount was right, but that...
Inability to produce enough red blood cells, causing "anemia of prematurity."
Around the time of the due date, the infant's body becomes mature enough to
produce sufficient red blood cells, and the anemia improves.
Mild anemia may not require treatment. More severe anemia is treated
with blood transfusions or with a medicine (erythropoietin) that improves the
body's ability to produce red blood cells.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
April 14, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 14, 2011
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