Devastating sequelae of alloimmune thrombocytopenia: an entity that deserves more attention

J Matern Fetal Med. 1996 May-Jun;5(3):137-41. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6661(199605/06)5:3<137::AID-MFM8>3.0.CO;2-N.


In alloimmune thrombocytopenia, maternal sensitization to a fetal platelet alloantigen results in fetal thrombocytopenia. Even in primipara, 20% of offspring can suffer intracranial hemorrhage, half of which occur in utero. Ninety percent of subsequent pregnancies will be equally or more severely affected. We describe two patients whose previous pregnancies were complicated by neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT). As expected, NAIT recurred, with devastating sequelae in both cases. One case presented with hydrops fetalis, a previously unreported association; the other fetus developed extensive intracranial hemorrhages in utero. Because both previous obstetrical histories had gone unrecognized, no preventative strategies had been undertaken.

Conclusion: Better recognition of this disease through a positive obstetrical history is needed in order to properly counsel patients and institute appropriate prenatal treatment regimens.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Platelets / immunology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / immunology
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Hydrops Fetalis
  • Isoantigens*
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Recurrence
  • Thrombocytopenia / embryology
  • Thrombocytopenia / genetics
  • Thrombocytopenia / immunology*


  • Isoantigens