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October 13, 1956

PASSAGE OF FETAL RED BLOOD CELLS INTO MATERNAL CIRCULATION

JAMA. 1956;162(7):661. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970240043014

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Abstract

The normal intact placental barrier prevents passage of fetal red blood cells into the maternal circulation. Occasionally, in the course of a pregnancy or during delivery, a break in the placental barrier may permit fetal red blood cells to enter the maternal circulation. This is the mechanism by which Rh sensitization can result from a pregnancy of an Rh-negative woman with an Rh-positive fetus. In general when a break in the placental barrier occurs, the amount of fetal blood that enters the maternal circulation is relatively small, so that the presence of the fetal red blood cells would not be detectable. The situation may be compared to giving a transfusion of Rh-positive blood to a nonsensitized Rh-negative recipient. It has been shown that the presence of the donor's Rh-positive cells mixed with the recipient's own Rh-negative cells would be demonstrable by differential agglutination only if at least 50 cc. of

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