Maternal intravenous immunoglobulin treatment does not prevent intracranial haemorrhage in fetal alloimmune thrombocytopenia

Transfus Med. 1994 Dec;4(4):293-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.1994.tb00266.x.


In fetal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FAIT) the fetus is threatened by intracranial haemorrhage (ICH); therefore early diagnostic and therapeutic intervention is required. We followed the clinical course of a 30-year-old woman during her fifth pregnancy after she had given birth to a child with alloimmune thrombocytopenia due to anti-Zwa. The fetus was monitored by 13 fetal blood samplings (FBS) always followed by transfusion of either maternal or compatible donor platelets. Intravenous immunoglobulin (ivIg) treatment of the mother was begun at 20 weeks of gestation when the fetal platelet count was 36 x 10(9)/l. The fetal platelets were typed Zwa positive by DNA analysis. Despite 11 weeks of maternal ivIg treatment fetal platelet counts progressively declined to 6 x 10(9)/l and ICH occurred. Subsequently, the fetus was successfully managed by intrauterine platelet transfusions at shorter intervals (3-5 days) and elective Cesarean section was carried out at 35 weeks of gestation. We conclude that maternal ivIg treatment does not prevent ICH in FAIT. The treatment of choice for severely affected cases is serial FBS combined with transfusion of compatible platelets.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Human Platelet / genetics
  • Antigens, Human Platelet / immunology
  • Blood Platelets / immunology
  • Blood Transfusion, Intrauterine
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Isoantibodies*
  • Male
  • Platelet Count
  • Platelet Transfusion
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Thrombocytopenia / complications*
  • Thrombocytopenia / diagnosis
  • Thrombocytopenia / immunology*


  • Antigens, Human Platelet
  • ITGB3 protein, human
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Isoantibodies