[Perinatal management and neurological outcome of newborns hospitalized with Rhesus hemolytic disease]

P Gobalakichenane, C Lardennois, S Galène-Gromez, V Brossard, L Marpeau, E Verspyck, S Marret
Gynécologie, Obstétrique & Fertilité 2008, 36 (10): 984-90

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate perinatal management and neurological outcome in a group of infants born with Rhesus fetomaternal allo-immunization.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between 1 January and 31 December 2005, all newborns admitted to neonatal unit of Rouen tertiary centre for Rhesus hemolytic disease were included in a retrospective study and divided in two groups. The newborns who were treated with intrauterine transfusion are in the group 1 and those who needed only postnatal treatment in the group 2. In each case, were considered antenatal management (ultrasonographic data, middle cerebral artery peak systolic velocity, intrauterine transfusion), postnatal treatment (phototherapy, exchange transfusion, transfusion requirements) and neurological outcome.

RESULTS: Among 42 cases of Rhesus allo-immunization observed in six years, 28 newborns (67%) were admitted for neonatal cares. No case of fetal hydrops was noted. But 16/28 (57%) were preterm with a median term of 35 weeks gestation (32-36 weeks). In group 1 of six infants who had received intrauterine transfusion (IUT), only one (17%) needed postnatal exchange transfusion, and all six received one to three blood transfusions after their birth. In group 2 of 22 infants who did not receive IUT, 6/22 (27%) needed postnatal exchange and 18/22 (82%) of them received one to four blood transfusions. Phototherapy duration and albumin requirements were similar in both groups. Three deaths occurred, one due to necrotizing enterocolitis and the other two later on due to sudden infant death and fulminant meningococcemia. Neurological outcome of the remaining 25 children was normal.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Rhesus alloimmunization remain a situation at risk. Neonatal clinical presentation is less severe than previously described due to improvement in antenatal management. Infants required less postnatal exchange transfusion when they received intrauterine transfusion but more frequent blood transfusions.

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