Complementary therapy for severe Rh-alloimmunization

G Noia, M De Santis, D Romano, A F Cavaliere, M S Ligato, A Petrone, G Fortunato, F Filippetti, A Caruso, S Mancuso
Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology 2002, 29 (4): 297-301

PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATION: This report describes successful treatment, using invasive and noninvasive techniques, of a 36-year-old woman (gravida 10, para 0) referred to our center at 13 weeks' gestation for severe Rh alloimmunization. Pre-pregnancy indirect Coombs titers ranged from 1:1024-2048. All nine past pregnancies (conceived with three different partners) had ended in abortion, intrauterine death or neonatal death

METHODS: The patient was treated with a single session of plasmapheresis (week 14) immediately followed by five days of immunoglobulin therapy and immunosuppressive therapy based on azathioprine and prednisone (weeks 15-22). Seven fetal transfusions (one intraperitoneal, six intravascular) were performed beginning at 16 weeks.

RESULTS: The pregnancy, which was characterized by insulin-dependent gestational diabetes, spontaneously resolving polyhydramnios and peak indirect Coombs titers of 1:65,536, ended at 27 weeks with cesarean section delivery of a viable female weighing 1,000 g. In spite of numerous neonatal complications, the child is physically well at age 3, with normal intellectual and psychomotor development.

CONCLUSION: In light of the negative outcomes of the patient's nine past pregnancies, our experience suggests that the early initiation of an integrated approach based on noninvasive and invasive techniques can play a potentially decisive role in the management of severe Rh-alloimmunization.

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