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May 16, 1966


JAMA. 1966;196(7):656-657. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100200096030

Over recent years investigation directed at eliminating perinatal mortality due to erythroblastosis fetalis has been accelerating in a militant fashion. It was only 1939 when Levine and Stetson proposed maternal isoimmunization as the etiological factor. A year later the Rh factor was discovered on erythrocytes by Landsteiner and Weiner.

In 1950 Allen and associates1 demonstrated that kernicterus could be eliminated by exchange transfusions. In 1954 Allen et al2 demonstrated that preterm delivery would prevent intrauterine death in many instances. In addition, pediatricians had made important advances in the management of premature infants. The overall perinatal mortality was at an impressively low figure.

Then, no significant improvement was forthcoming for several years. There was no accurate means of detecting which fetus was in trouble. Antibody titers were frequently misleading in weighing the hazards of prematurity vs erythroblastosis. It was impossible to judge the optimum time for delivery in each

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