Rhesus disease: postnatal management and outcome

Eur J Pediatr. 1999 Sep;158(9):689-93. doi: 10.1007/s004310051180.


The incidence of rhesus haemolytic disease has been markedly reduced. Affected infants who have had intrauterine transfusions suffer a late hyporegenerative anaemia. Postnatal haemolysis and hence treatment for hyperbilirubinaemia is less commonly needed. Optimal phototherapy reduces the need for postnatal exchange transfusions, but data on the efficacy of inhibitors of bilirubin production such as haem oxygenase inhibitors or immunoglobulin are less secure. Even hydropic infants have less than 20% mortality and bilirubin encephalopathy is uncommon. There is, however, very limited information on the long-term outcome of infants with rhesus haemolytic disease. Multicentre collaboration is required to test strategies to improve the management of affected individuals further and to provide meaningful data on their prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion
  • Blood Transfusion, Intrauterine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Phototherapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Rh Isoimmunization / complications
  • Rh Isoimmunization / mortality
  • Rh Isoimmunization / therapy*


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous