Erythroblastosis fetalis is a severe medical condition that most commonly results from incompatibility between certain blood types of a woman. Erythroblastosis fetalis is hemolytic anemia in the fetus (or neonate, as erythroblastosis neonatorum) caused by transplacental transmission of maternal . Definition. Erythroblastosis fetalis, also known as hemolytic disease of the newborn or immune hydrops fetalis, is a disease in the fetus or newborn caused by.

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Hemolytic disease of the newborn – Wikipedia

Log in with your Eritroblasosis News Today account to create or edit your custom homepage, catch-up on your opinions notifications and set your newsletter preferences. Sign up for a free Medical News Today account to customize your medical and health news experiences. The condition involves a component of blood called Rh factor. Rh factor is an inherited protein, found on the surface of red blood cells. Not everyone has this protein. If a person has the protein, they are Rh positive.

Those who do not have the Eritroblastodis protein are Rh negative. If a woman is Rh negative and the fetus is Rh positive, it can lead to Rh incompatibility and potential complications in the eritroblastpsis. Although it is rare for blood between the woman and the fetus to mix during pregnancy, it could happen as a result of:.

If Rh-negative blood mixes with Rh-positive blood, an immune response known adalh Rh sensitization may occur. This means that the person with Rh-negative blood will produce antibodies to fight any future exposure to Rh-positive blood. The body can also produce antibodies after contamination with a Rh-positive blood from a needle or a blood transfusion.

Once sensitized, the body’s immune system will recognize any future Rh-positive cells as foreign and attack them.

Erythroblastosis Fetalis

If Rh-positive blood from a fetus gets into the bloodstream of a woman with sensitized Rh-negative blood, the woman’s immune system will attack the invading cells and destroy them. Destruction of fwtalis red blood cells hemolysis can be rapid in a fetus.

As a result, the fetus will not receive enough oxygen, which may lead to anemiaother illnesses, or even death. As hemolysis continues, the fetus will rapidly attempt acalah produce more red blood cells. However, these cells new red blood cells are often immature and are fetzlis to function fully.

Because the body produces red blood cells in the liver and spleen, this overproduction can sometimes cause these organs to enlarge. As the immature red blood cells continue to break down, bilirubin, which is a by-product of the breakdown of red blood cells, builds up. The excess amounts of bilirubin circulating in the newborn’s body will lead to jaundicewhere the skin and eye whites of the infant turn yellow.


Rh incompatibility is the most common cause of the condition, but other factors can also be responsible, including other cell or blood incompatibilities that produce antibodies.

White infants are more likely to develop the condition than African-American infants. The risk is also higher in pregnancies where Rh sensitization has already taken place, eritroblaztosis example, during a first pregnancy. It is important to note that having a different blood type to the fetus ABO incompatibility is not a cause of erythroblastosis fetalis or hemolytic eeitroblastosis of the newborn, though some other rare blood group differences can occasionally be a cause.

Newborns with the condition may display visible symptoms as well as some that show up on scans, such as:. Hydrops fetalis is another severe complication that causes fluid to fetaliw up in fetal tissues and organs as a result of heart failure.

This is a life-threatening condition. A buildup of bilirubin in the brain can lead to a complication called kernicterus, leading to eritroblaatosis, brain damage, deafnessor death. The first step in diagnosing erythroblastosis fetalis is to determine whether the cause is Rh incompatibility. A doctor can identify incompatibility using an antibody-screening test in the first trimester.

They may repeat the test at 28 weeks of gestation and may also test the Rh factor of the male partner. Treatment may include a fetal blood transfusion and delivery of the fetus between 32 and 37 weeks gestation. The goal of IVIG antibody therapy is to reduce the breakdown of red blood cells and levels of circulating bilirubin.

Sometimes, an exchange dritroblastosis is necessary. This type of transfusion involves replacing small amounts of blood with different blood.

The goal is to increase the presence and eritroblastosie of red blood cells and to lower bilirubin levels. Erythroblastosis fetalis is a preventable condition. This medication prevents the pregnant woman from developing Rh-positive antibodies. However, this will not help women who have already undergone Rh sensitization. Women at risk for Rh sensitization should receive RhoGAM doses at specific times during their pregnancy and after delivery.

If a woman has a pregnancy that extends beyond 40 weeks, the doctor may recommend an additional dose of RhoGAM. Erythroblastosis fetalis is a potentially dangerous condition that occurs during the development of an infant.

The condition occurs when a component of blood called Rh factor is incompatible between the pregnant woman and the fetus. Treatment includes blood transfusion, IV fluids, immunoglobin, and addressing any breathing difficulties. Giving a pregnant woman Rh immunoglobin can also help prevent the condition by blocking Rh sensitization.

If a fetus with erythroblastosis fetalis survives and is born eritrovlastosis, the infant may be extremely ill. The lack of oxygen caused by severe anemia around the time of birth can lead to long-term damage to the brain and other organs. Article last updated by Adam Felman on Fri 28 September All references are available in fealis References tab.

Hemolytic disease of the newborn. How it can affect your pregnancy. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.


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Reviewed by Karen Gill, MD. Problems can sometimes arise if a mother and her unborn child have different blood types. Everything you need to know about blood types.

Click here to find out all about blood groups and why some types reject others. Ultrasound testing during pregnancy can give a clues about fetal health. The newborn may need urgent medical treatment. Does this condition have any long-term effects on a newborn? Kernicterus caused by high bilirubin levels can also cause permanent brain damage.

However, erythroblastosis fetalis is preventable, and these complications are rare. Karen Gill, MD Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.

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