hemolyticDisease of the Newborn (erythroblastosis fetalis)
• used to be a major cause of fetal loss and death among newborn babies.• The first description of HDN is thought to be in 1609 by a French midwife who delivered twins— one baby was swollen and died soon after birth, the other baby developed jaundice and died several days later. For the next 300 years, many similar cases were described in which newborns failed to survive.
• It was not until the 1950s that the underlying cause of HDN was clarified; namely, the newborns red blood cells (RBCs) are being attacked by antibodies from the mother. The attack begins while the baby is still in the womb and is caused by an incompatibility between the mothers and babys blood.
Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn • is an alloimmune condition that develops in a fetus, when the IgG molecules produced by the mother pass through the placenta • Among these antibodies are some which attack the red blood cells in the fetal circulation • the red cells are broken down and the fetus can develop reticulocytosis and anemia • This fetal disease ranges from mild to very severe, and fetal death from heart failure (hydrops fetalis) can occur • When the disease is moderate or severe, many erythroblasts are present in the fetal blood and so these forms of the disease can be called erythroblastosis fetalis (or erythroblastosis foetalis)
PathophysiologyThis disorder occurs when the fetus has a blood group antigen that the mother does notposses. The mother’s body forms an antibody against that particular blood groupantigen, and hemolysis begins. The process of antibody formation is called maternalsensitization.The fetus has resulting anemia from the hemolysis of blood cells. The fetus compensatesby producing large numbers of immature erythrocytes, a condition known aserythroblastosis fetalis, hemolytic disease of the newborn, or hydrops fetalis. Hydropsrefers to the edema and fetalis refers to the lethal state of the infant.In Rh incompatibility, the hemolysis usually begins in utero. It may not affect the firstpregnancy but all pregnancies that follow will experience this problem. In ABOincompatibility, the hemolysis does not usually begin until the birth of the newborn.
• Hemolytic disease occurs most frequently when the mother doesEtiology not have the Rh factor present in her blood but the fetus has this factor. • Another common cause of hemolytic disease is ABO incompatibility. In most cases of ABO incompatibility, the mother has blood type O and the fetus has blood type A. It may also occur when the fetus has blood type B or AB. • Hemolysis is occasionally caused by maternal anemias, such as thalassemia or from other blood group antigens (anti-D).
Symptoms• Hemolysis leads to elevated bilirubin levels.• After delivery bilirubin is no longer cleared (via the placenta) from the neonates blood and the symptoms of jaundice (yellowish skin and yellow discoloration of the whites of the eyes) increase within 24 hours after birth.• Like any other severe neonatal jaundice, there is the possibility of acute or chronic kernicterus.
• Profound anemia can cause: • high-output heart failure, with pallor, • enlarged liver and/or spleen, • generalized swelling, and • respiratory distress.• The prenatal manifestations are known as: • hydrops fetalis; • in severe forms this can include petechiae and purpura. • The infant may be stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Diagnosis The diagnosis of HDN is based on history and laboratory findings:• Blood tests done on the newborn baby • Biochemistry tests for jaundice • Peripheral blood morphology shows increased reticulocytes. Erythroblasts (also known as nucleated red blood cells) occur in moderate and severe disease. • Positive direct Coombs test (might be negative after fetal interuterine blood transfusion)• Blood tests done on the mother • Positive indirect Coombs test
The Coombs test detects Rh incompatibility between mother and fetus This test uses antibodies that bind to anti-D antibodies. The test is named for RobinCoombs, who first developed the technique ofusing antibodies that are targeted againstother antibodies.
Coombs test Direct Coombs test: diagnoses Indirect Coombs test: used in the HDN prevention of HDN • The indirect Coombs test finds anti-D antibodies in• The direct Coombs test detects the mothers serum. If these were to come into contact with fetal RBCs they would hemolyse them maternal anti-D antibodies that and hence cause HDN. By finding maternal anti-D have already bound to fetal RBCs. before fetal RBCs have been attacked, treatment can be given to prevent or limit the severity of HDN.• First, a sample of fetal RBCs is washed to remove any unbound • For this test, the mothers serum is incubated with antibody (Ig). When the test Rh D-positive RBCs. If any anti-D is present in the antibodies (anti-Ig) are mothers serum, they will bind to the cells. The cells added, they agglutinate any fetal are then washed to remove all free antibodies. When RBCs to which maternal anti-Ig antibodies are added, they will agglutinate antibodies are already bound. any RBCs to which maternal antibodies are bound. • This is called the indirect Coombs test because the• This is called the direct Coombs anti-Ig finds "indirect" evidence of harmful maternal test because the anti-Ig binds antibodies, requiring the addition of fetal RBCs to "directly" to the maternal anti-D show the capacity of maternal anti-D to bind to fetal Ig that coats fetal RBCs in HDN. RBCs.
Management• Before birth, options for treatment include: • intrauterine transfusion or early induction of labor when pulmonary maturity has been attained, fetal distress is present, or 35 to 37 weeks of gestation have passed. • The mother may also undergo plasma exchange to reduce the circulating levels of antibody by as much as 75%.
• After birth, treatment depends on the severity of the condition, but could include: • temperature stabilization and monitoring, • phototherapy, • transfusion with compatible packed red blood, • exchange transfusion with a blood type compatible with both the infant and the mother, • sodium bicarbonate for correction of acidosis and/or assisted ventilation.
• Rhesus-negative mothers who have had a pregnancy with/are pregnant with a rhesus- positive infant are given Rh immune globulin (RhIG) at 28 weeks during pregnancy, at 34 weeks, and within 72 hours after delivery to prevent sensitization to the D antigen.
Nursing Management• 1. Administer RhoGAm to the unsensitized Rh-negative client as appropriate • Administer RhoGAM at 28 weeks’ gestation, even when titers are negative, or after any invasive procedure, such as amniocentesis. RhoGAM protects against the effects of early transplacental hemorrhage (as recommended by the American College of Gynecologists). • When the Rh-negative mother is in labor, crossmatch for RhoGAM, which must given within 72 hours of delivery of the newborn.• 2. Provide management for the sensitized Rh-negative mother and Rh-positive fetus. • Focus management of the sensitized Rh-negative mother on close monitoring of fetal well-being, as reflected by Rh titers, amniocentesis results, and sonography.
• If there is evidence of erythroblastosis, notify the perineal team of the possibility for delivery of a compromised newborn.3. Provide management for ABO incompatibility. • Phototherapy usually can resolve the newborn jaundice associated with ABO incompatibility. • In addition, initiation of early feeding and exchange blood transfusions may be immediate measures required to reduce indirect bilirubin levels. • Provide client and family teaching.
Preventing HDN• Determine Rh status of the mother• If the mother is not sensitized, reduce the risk of future sensitization• If the mother is sensitized, determine whether the fetus is at risk and monitor accordingly