Background: Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) is defined as an uncommon platelet disorder caused by maternal alloimmunization to human-specific antigens (HPAs) that are paternally inherited, resulting in low fetal/neonatal platelet levels and debilitating effects on the newborn. The incidence of NAIT is 1 in every 1000 live births within the United States; it is the most common cause of severe thrombocytopenia (<30 × 109/L) and intracranial hemorrhage in term newborns.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to discuss the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of NAIT and its implications upon the lifespan of the neonate.
Methods: A literature review was conducted using PubMed, CINAHL, and Google Scholar (2014-2019). Search terms included NAIT, neonatal/fetal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, newborn platelets, and intracranial bleeding and NAIT.
Results: NAIT can affect first pregnancies and often goes undiagnosed until delivery. Universal screening tools with a focus on HPA-1a typing via noninvasive testing have been successfully trialed and have yielded promising results indicating a 75% reduction in risks associated with NAIT; however, none have been incorporated into practice and prophylactic treatment remains unavailable.
Implications for research: Adopting a universal screening tool and prophylaxis for NAIT would allow for early diagnosis and treatment in utero.
Implications for practice: Many healthcare providers are not familiar with NAIT often focusing on other causes of thrombocytopenia as a potential diagnosis.
Copyright © 2020 by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.