Rhesus Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn


Rhesus (Rh) haemolytic disease of the newborn arises from maternal anti‐D immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibodies which cross the placenta and are directed against paternally derived D antigens which the fetus carries and the mother lacks. Untreated, this condition can result in intrauterine death from anaemia and cardiac failure (hydrops) or neonatal neurological problems and death following the development of severe jaundice and kernicterus.

Keywords: Rh alloimmunization; anti‐D prophylaxis; hydrops; in‐utero transfusion; kernicterus


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Further Reading

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Practice Bulletins (1999) Prevention of Rh D Alloimmunization. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 4 – Clinical Management Guidelines for Obstetrician‐Gynecologists. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1999) Use of Anti‐D Immunoglobulin for Rh Prophylaxis – Greentop Guidelines No. 22. London: RCOG.

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Letsky, Elizabeth A(Apr 2001) Rhesus Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002290]