Postnatal outcome in neonates with severe Rhesus c compared to Rhesus D hemolytic disease

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Neonates with Rhesus c (Rh c) hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) are often managed in the same way as neonates with Rhesus D (Rh D) HDFN, although evidence to support this policy is limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate neonatal outcome in severe Rh c HDFN compared to Rh D HDFN.

Study Design and Methods

A retrospective study of (near-)term neonates with severe Rh c (n = 22) and Rh D HDFN (n = 103; without additional antibodies) admitted to the Leiden University Medical Center between January 2000 and October 2011 was conducted. The need for intrauterine transfusions (IUTs), phototherapy, exchange transfusions (ETs), and top-up transfusions up to 3 months of age were recorded and compared between both groups.


Although there was a trend for a slightly more severe antenatal course for Rh D HDFN reflected by an earlier need for and higher number of IUTs (median [interquartile range], 2 [1.5-4] vs. 2 [1-2] in Rh c HDFN; p = 0.070), no significant differences were found for the postnatal course between Rh c and Rh D group in days of phototherapy (mean, Days 4.8 and 4.6, respectively; p = 0.569), need for ET (50% vs. 44%, respectively; p = 0.589), and top-up transfusions (62% vs. 78%, respectively; p = 0.128).


Postnatal outcome in neonates with severe Rh c HDFN is similar compared to neonates with severe Rh D hemolytic disease in terms of days of phototherapy, need for ET, and need for top-up transfusions. These results justify a similar postnatal management of neonates with Rh D and Rh c HDFN.

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