High-dose gammaglobulin (IVIG) followed by intrauterine transfusions (IUTs): a new alternative for the treatment of severe fetal hemolytic disease

L S Voto, E R Mathet, J L Zapaterio, J Orti, R L Lede, M Margulies
Journal of Perinatal Medicine 1997, 25 (1): 85-8
Intrauterine fetal transfusion is currently the therapy of choice in cases of severe anti-D isoimmunisation. However, its efficacy is reduced in patients with early severe hydrops fetalis due to the technical difficulties in performing this procedure before 20 weeks' gestation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether early onset of high-dose gammaglobulin therapy followed by intrauterine transfusions (IUTs) is more effective than IUTs alone in the treatment of very severe isoimmunised fetuses. The population studied in this retrospective clinical research was assigned to one of the following two groups: 1) Gamma group: 30 patients receiving gammaglobulin therapy before 21 weeks' gestation and IUTs after 20 weeks; or 2) IUT group: 39 patients receiving IUT treatment starting at a gestational age of 20-25 weeks. Both groups were statistically similar regarding history of perinatal deaths and anti-D antibody titers. The number of hydropic fetuses at the first IUT and of fetal deaths were significantly higher in the IUT than in the Gamma group. No significant differences were observed between the groups in fetal hematocrit at first IUT and at birth. However, the percentage of severely anemic fetuses was higher in the IUT group. Fetal mortality rate was 36% less in the Gamma group. Our results suggest that high-dose gammaglobulin therapy followed by IUTs may improve fetal survival in these severe cases. Further randomised clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.

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