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Management of Anti-Rhesus-D Antibodies in Pregnancy: A Review from 1994 to 1998

Cheong Y.C.a · Goodrick J.b · Kyle P.M.a · Soothill P.a
aFetal Medicine Research Unit, University of Bristol, St. Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, and bDepartment of Haematology, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, UK Fetal Diagn Ther 2001;16:294–298 (DOI:10.1159/000053931)


Objective: To review our management of anti-Rhesus-D antibodies in pregnancy over a 5-year period in order to assess possible changes in the management or prognosis which may have developed with time. Method: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from 31 pregnancies with maternal anti-D levels >4 IU/ml and in which the fetus was Rhesus positive. Results: There were a total of 30 amniocenteses, 8 cordocenteses, and 54 fetal blood transfusions performed. When undertaken as the first procedure, the mean gestational age at amniocentesis was 30 weeks as compared with 25 weeks for fetal blood sampling/transfusion (p < 0.05). The median anti-D level at the first procedure was 24 IU/ml for amniocentesis and 64 IU/ml for fetal blood sampling. Of the 54 blood transfusions, 43 were intravascular, 4 were intraperitoneal, and 7 transfusions were both intravascular and intraperitoneal. Conclusions: Intravascular as opposed to intraperitoneal transfusions were found to be the main method of transfusion in the later years in this study, a finding which was expected with improved sonographic equipment. Apart from this, management and prognosis of anti-D red cell isoimmunisation in pregnancy have remained relatively stable since the 1980s. Amniocentesis was useful in the management of such pregnancies, especially as an initial procedure in the cases with a lower initial anti-D level. In this series 90% of the fetuses requiring blood transfusion, but were without hydrops, survived, whereas this was about 70%, if they had become hydropic (this latter figure was reduced by 2 hydropic deaths before 20 weeks’ gestation in the same very severely affected woman).


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