Objectives: Our purposes were to investigate maternal infusions of intravenous gamma-globulin, to prevent intracranial hemorrhage, and to determine whether 1.5 mg dexamethasone and 60 mg prednisone per day add to the effect of intravenous gamma-globulin.
Study design: Fifty-four women with alloimmune thrombocytopenia and thrombocytopenic fetuses were randomized to intravenous gamma-globulin 1 gm/kg per week with or without dexamethasone. Nonresponders after 4 to 6 weeks received continued intravenous gamma-globulin plus 60 mg of prednisone per day ("salvage").
Results: Dexamethasone did not add to the effect of intravenous gamma-globulin. Overall, there was a mean platelet increase from the first to the second fetal blood sampling of 36,000/microliters (n = 47) and from the first fetal blood sampling to birth of 69,000/microliters (n = 54). A total of 62% to 85% of fetuses responded. There were no intracranial hemorrhages. "Salvage" increased the platelet count in 5 of 10 nonresponders to intravenous gamma-globulin.
Conclusion: Intravenous gamma-globulin treatment is appropriate for thrombocytopenic fetuses with alloimmune thrombocytopenia before use of weekly in utero platelet transfusions, even in severe thrombocytopenia.