Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn

Hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN), also known as hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) or alloimmune HDFN, is a potentially severe alloimmune condition that may, on rare occasions, result in stillbirth or neonatal death.   HDFN occurs when fetal red blood cells (RBCs) are destroyed by maternal alloantibodies that have crossed into the fetal circulation, leading to hemolysis and anemia.  Maternal alloantibodies may develop against fetal RBC antigen(s) not possessed by the mother, and typically result from previous transfusion or pregnancy.  At one time, most cases of severe HDFN were due to the RhD antigen; however, the introduction of anti-D immune globulin prophylaxis has dramatically decreased the incidence of HDFN in the United States. ABO blood group incompatibility is now the most common cause.   Laboratory testing for HDFN may be useful for prenatal risk assessment, pre- and postnatal diagnosis, and prenatal monitoring of disease progression.

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
November 2019

Last Update: November 2019