In an investigation of the effects of intrauterine, intravascular transfusions (IUT) on fetal and neonatal hemolysis and erythropoiesis, 12 fetuses who received IUT for treatment of severe isoimmunization had serial measurements of hemoglobin concentration, Kleihauer-Betke stains to detect fetal hemoglobin-containing erythrocytes, and determination of plasma erythropoletin (EPO) concentration before each IUT, at birth, and postnatally. Reticulocyte counts and sensitizing antibody titers were measured in five fetuses. Mean values before the first IUT, before the final IUT, and at birth were as follows: hemoglobin level, 6.1, 9.1, and 11.3 gm/dl; reticulocyte count, 22.7%, 0.5%, and 0.9%; fetal hemoglobin-containing erythrocytes, 100%, 1.6%, and 1.5%; and EPO level, 12, 56, and 756 mU/ml, respectively. Only one neonate required exchange transfusion. In the first month postnatally, all infants had a profound anemia. All but one infant required simple blood transfusions postnatally. Before the first postnatal transfusion, mean hemoglobin concentration was 6.2 gm/dl, mean reticulocyte count was 0.8%, mean erythropoletin concentration was 23 mU/ml, and the sensitizing antibody titer remained markedly elevated. Except for the surge of EPO at birth, EPO levels did not rise prenatally or postnatally unless marked anemia (hemoglobin level <5 gm/dl) occurred. These observations suggest that the intrauterine and postnatal anemia in fetuses who receive IUTs may be explained both by hemolysis of newly formed erythrocytes by circulating antibody, which typically persisted for more than a month after birth, and by suppressed erythropolesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health