Objective To identify risk factors for the presence of non-rhesus D (RhD) red blood cell (RBC) antibodies in pregnancy. To generate evidence for subgroup RBC antibody screening and for primary prevention by extended matching of transfusions in women <45 years. Design Case–control study. Setting Nationwide evaluation of screening programme for non-RhD RBC antibodies. Population Cases: consecutive pregnancies (n = 900) with non-RhD immunisation identified from 1 September 2002 to 1 June 2003 and 1 October 2003 to 1 July 2004; controls (n= 968): matched for obstetric caregiver and gestational age. Methods Data collection from the medical records and/or from the respondents by a structured phone interview. Main outcome measures Significant risk factors for non-RhD immunisation in multivariate analysis. Results Significant independent risk factors: history of RBC transfusion (OR 16.7; 95% CI: 11.4–24.6), parity (para-1 versus para-0: OR 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0–1.7; para-2 versus para-0: OR 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0–2.0; para >2 versus para-0: OR 3.2; 95% CI: 1.8–5.8), haematological disease (OR 2.1; 95% CI: 1.0–4.2), history of major surgery (OR 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1–1.8). For the clinically most important antibodies, anti-K, anti-c and other Rh-nonD-antibodies RBC transfusion was the most important risk factor, especially for anti-K (OR 96.4; 95%-CI: 56.6–164.1); 83% of the K-sensitised women had a history of RBC transfusion. Pregnancy-related risk factors were a prior male child (OR 1.7; 95% CI: 1.2–2.3) and caesarean section (OR 1.7; 95% CI: 1.1–2.7). Conclusions RBC transfusion is by far the most important independent risk factor for non-RhD immunisation in pregnancy, followed by parity, major surgery and haematological disease. Pregnancy-related risk factors are a prior male child and caesarean section. Subgroup screening for RBC antibodies, with exclusion of RhD-positive para-0 without clinical risk factors, is to be considered. This approach will be equally sensitive in detecting severe Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn compared with the present RBC antibody screening programme without preselection. Primary prevention by extending preventive matching of transfusions in women younger than 45 will prevent more than 50% of pregnancy immunisations.

, , ,
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Koelewijn, J. M., Vrijkotte, T. G. M., de Haas, M., van der Schoot, E., & Bonsel, G. (2009). Risk factors for the presence of non-rhesus D red blood cell antibodies in pregnancy. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 116(5), 655–664. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/19580