Exchange Transfusion, Newborn

An exchange transfusion is a procedure that removes your child's blood in small amounts and replaces it with fresh donor blood or plasma.

This may be needed for a variety of conditions including:


Exchange transfusion is a procedure that has been carried out many times in the hospital. Like all procedures, there are small potential risks. These include:

Your child will be monitored for these problems. He or she will be treated promptly in the unlikely event that any arise. The decision to perform an exchange transfusion will only have been made because the risks are greater for your child if it is not done.



This is a sterile procedure. Parents may be asked to leave the room. Your child may need to be under a warmer. Your child may be covered with sterile towels. This will create a safe and clean area where your caregivers will work. The steps of the procedure may take about an hour and include:


Follow-up blood tests will be done over several hours. Catheters will be kept in place until his/her blood results indicate that a second exchange is not required. Feedings will be started 2-4 hours after the exchange is completed. Monitoring in the neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit is likely for a period of time after the procedure is completed. The clinical team will decide when this is no longer necessary.