Management of neonatal Rh disease.
Dramatic improvements have been made in the management of Rh disease. Anti-D immune globulin has reduced the incidence of Rh sensitization. Intrauterine transfusions have become routine to treat fetal anemia. Once an affected infant is born, several recent improvements in neonatal care have aided in the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia. These include improved phototherapy, such as fiberoptic delivery systems, and intravenous immunoglobulin. Experience with heme oxygenase inhibitors is accumulating, and they may prove efficacious in Rh disease. Double-volume (and perhaps single-volume) exchange transfusion remains an effective method to control hyperbilirubinemia when other therapies fail. Erythropoietin may have a role in treating late, hyporegenerative anemia. Finally, better ways to assess the risk of brain injury in patients with hyperbilirubinemia may become available. Cooperation between the obstetric and neonatal teams to treat Rh-sensitized mothers and their babies is essential.
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