[The incidence of irregular antibodies in pregnancy: a prospective study in the region of the 's-Hertogenbosch]

B de Vrijer, E J Harthoorn-Lasthuizen, H P Oosterbaan
Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 1999 December 11, 143 (50): 2523-7

OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence and clinical relevance of irregular erythrocyte antibodies (IEA), in multiparous women and in primigravidal with a history of blood transfusion.

DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal cohort study.

METHODS: In the 's-Hertogenbosch area, the Netherlands, both primigravidae with a previous blood transfusion and multiparous women were tested for IEA in addition to the regular blood tests during the first trimester of pregnancy. If IEA were discovered, the partners were tested for the presence of the antigen involved. Blood samples of children of positive fathers were tested immediately post partum for signs of haemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN).

RESULTS: During a 2.5-year period (August 1995-January 1998) a total of 2392 pregnant women were screened for IEA: 2204 multiparous women and 188 primigravidae women. In 65 women 81 IEA were discovered. In the group of 30 children positive for the antigen involved, 12 (40%) had clinical symptoms of HDN; intrauterine death was diagnosed once, one child died immediately after delivery. One child had signs of hydrops fetalis and two children needed an exchange transfusion. Phototherapy and/or regular blood transfusion were given to 7 children. Most cases of HDN were caused by anti-D, anti-Kell and anti-c antibodies.

CONCLUSION: Non-RhD-IEA were found in 1.6% of pregnant women screened. First-trimester screening for IEA is recommended as it can be of help in early diagnosis and treatment of HDN.

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