Prevention of Rh Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN)
What is the Rh factor and why is it important during pregnancy?
The Rh factor is an antigen that is found on the surface of red blood cells. If you have these antigens on your red blood cells, you would be considered Rh positive. Those who do not are Rh negative.1
How can the Rh factor affect pregnancies?
When an Rh-negative woman has Rh-positive antibodies in her blood and the baby she is carrying is Rh-positive, the antibodies could possibly enter the baby's bloodstream, attack the baby's red blood cells and cause HDN.1
When is there a risk of blood exchange?
The exchange of blood usually occurs during delivery but can happen during a miscarriage, amniocentesis, or as a result of an injury or trauma. There have been instances, though, where women develop antibodies to Rh-positive blood cells during pregnancy for no apparent reason.1
What happens when a baby is born with HDN?
If a baby is born with HDN, the infant may suffer from jaundice, anemia, or have permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. HDN can lead to mental handicaps, hearing loss, or cerebral palsy.1
Is there treatment for HDN?
Extensive medical assistance may be necessary, including an exchange transfusion, which is where the baby's blood is replaced. By transfusing all of the baby's blood, the destruction of its red blood cells should stop, giving the baby a chance to survive.1
Can HDN be prevented?
Yes, prevention is key to protection. HyperRHO S/D is an immune globulin that, when administered properly, can prevent HDN, assuming that the mother does not already have Rh-positive antibodies in her system. HyperRHO S/D has high levels of specific antibodies against Rh-positive blood cells. When injected, HyperRHO S/D destroys any Rh-positive red blood cells that may have entered the mother's body. The injection also prevents the mother's immune system from further production of Rh-positive antibodies, hence protecting the baby from contracting HDN.1
When should HyperRHO S/D be administered?
Since laboratory findings have shown the development of Rh-positive antibodies during the final weeks of pregnancy, your doctor may suggest a first dose be given at 28 weeks' gestation. HyperRHO® S/D Full Dose (RhO[D] immune globulin [human]) should be administered again within 72 hours of delivery of an Rh-positive baby. For women undergoing spontaneous or induced abortion of up to 12 weeks' gestation, HyperRHO® S/D Mini-Dose (RhO[D] immune globulin [human]) should be administered within 3 hours or as soon as possible following the abortion.1,2