Serial blood donations for intrauterine transfusions of severe hemolytic disease of the newborn with the use of recombinant erythropoietin in a pregnant woman alloimmunized with anti-Ku

Evaggelia Lydaki, Irene Nikoloudi, Petros Kaminopetros, Irene Bolonaki, Stavros Sifakis, Katerina Kikidi, Evgenios Koumantakis, Kaliopi Foundouli
Transfusion 2005, 45 (11): 1791-5

BACKGROUND: The management of a pregnant woman with the rare Ko phenotype and anti-Ku is a special challenge, because matched blood is extremely rare and the possibility of severe hemolytic disease of the newborn is high.

CASE REPORT: A 30-year-old woman with rare Ko (Knull) phenotype presented at 18 weeks of gestation with positive indirect agglutination test results. She had anti-Ku due to previous blood transfusion, one pregnancy, and two abortions.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: During this pregnancy, anti-Ku titers ranged from 1024 to 4096. At the 26th week of gestation ultrasound showed a hydropic fetus and urgent intrauterine exchange transfusion was performed with the maternal red blood cells (RBCs). Recombinant human erythropoietin (rHu-EPO) and intravenous (IV) iron were administered to the mother to ensure an adequate supply of matched RBCs for intrauterine transfusions and possible perinatal hemorrhage.

RESULTS: Intrauterine transfusions were repeated every 1 to 3 weeks. By 35 weeks 2 days of gestation, the mother had donated 4 units of blood, and four intrauterine transfusions had been performed. Cesarean section was then decided and a healthy male newborn was born. He was treated with phototherapy but without exchange transfusions. By the 15th day of life rHu-EPO was administrated to the newborn because of anemia. The maternal RBCs completely disappeared from the child's blood by Day 100.

CONCLUSIONS: As shown in this case, treatment with rHu-EPO and IV Fe has effectively increased the mother's capacity to donate RBCs for autologous use and intrauterine transfusions, with no adverse effects to the mother or the child.

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