Changes in Hemorheology With Fetal Intravascular Transfusion

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Our aim was to determine the changes in fetal hemorheologic parameters caused by fetal intravascular transfusion for alloimmune anemia.


Fetal blood samples were collected before and after 95 fetal transfusions in 31 women. Fetal hematocrit, whole-blood viscosity at a variety of shear rates, plasma viscosity, fetal fibrinogen, and fetal plasma proteins were measured.


Fetal whole-blood viscosity increased, sometimes massively, with transfusion. The rise in viscosity was principally dependent on the rise in hematocrit, with a linear rise in hematocrit producing a linear rise in the logarithm of whole-blood viscosity, but was also affected by the amount of adult plasma proteins present in the donor blood.


Rises in fetal whole-blood viscosity during transfusion can be minimized by using donor blood that has been serum depleted to a high hematocrit (>90%) and by restricting the end hematocrit to 50% to 55%. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:726-32.)

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