Blocked D phenomenon, a rare condition with Rh D haemolytic disease of newborn – a case report

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Accurate Rh testing can be difficult if the red cells are heavily coated with IgG anti D antibodies – a phenomenon called blocked D. Repeatedly, Rh D negative blood group report was obtained in a newborn male baby with severe haemolytic disease and features of kernicterus born to a 2nd gravida B Rh D negative mother. On investigation, the baby was grouped as B Rh D negative by direct grouping, but after elution, D antigen was detected and phenotyped as CcDe. Antibody was identified as anti D. All D antigens of the baby were fully saturated with anti D leaving any antigen to bind with antisera. Direct Coombs test was strongly positive even after three exchange transfusions. The baby also had free antibody apart from the red cell bound and the red cell eluate, gave a titre of 512. The mother was grouped as B Rh D negative and phenotyped as ce. She had IgM and IgG class of anti D with titres 32 and 1024 respectively. She also had IgM anti C (only in neat) and IgG anti-A with a titre of 512.

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