Outcome of pregnancies at risk for neonatal hemochromatosis is improved by treatment with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin

Peter F. Whitington, Susan Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. Neonatal hemochromatosis is the result of severe fetal liver injury that seems to result from maternal-fetal alloimmunity. Women who have had an infant affected with neonatal hemochromatosis are at high risk in subsequent pregnancies for having another affected infant. This study was designed to determine whether therapy directed at limiting the severity of gestational alloimmunity can reduce the occurrence of severe neonatal hemochromatosis in infants of women at risk. A secondary objective was to use a prospectively collected data set to examine questions of vital interest about neonatal hemochromatosis. Methods. Women with a history of pregnancy ending in documented neonatal hemo- chromatosis were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin at 1 g/kg of body weight weekly from week 18 until the end of gestation. Extensive data were prospectively collected regarding the gestational histories of the subjects. The outcomes of treated pregnancies were compared with those of previous affected pregnancies, which were used as historical controls. Results. Forty-eight women were enrolled to be treated during 53 pregnancies. The gestational histories of these women demonstrated the high risk of occurrence of neonatal hemochromatosis: 92% of pregnancies at risk resulted in intrauterine fetal demise, neonatal death, or liver failure necessitating transplant. In contrast, with gestational therapy, the 53 at-risk gestations resulted in 3 failures and 52 infants who survived intact with medical therapy alone. When compared on a per-woman or perinfant basis, the outcome of gestation at risk for neonatal hemochromatosis was improved by gestational therapy. Conclusions. Neonatal hemochromatosis seems to be the result of a gestational alloimmune disease, and occurrence of severe neonatal hemochromatosis in at-risk pregnancies can be significantly reduced by treatment with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin during gestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1615-e1621
JournalPediatrics
Volume121
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • Fetal mortality
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin
  • Iron overload
  • Maternal antibodies
  • Neonatal death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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