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November 1950

ERYTHROBLASTOSIS FETALIS: VI. Prevention of Kernicterus

Author Affiliations

Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Associate Physician, Children's Medical Center; Associate in Hematology, Boston Lying-in Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Children's Medical Center; Hematologist, Boston Lying-in Hospital BOSTON; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine NEW HAVEN, CONN.
From the Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, Harvard Medical School, the Children's Medical Center and the Boston Lying-in Hospital.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1950;80(5):779-791. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1950.04040020793006

IN PREVIOUS reports1 we have shown that during a 12 year study period (1937 through 1948) kernicterus was the chief hazard to the recovery of liveborn infants with erythroblastosis fetalis seen at the Children's Medical Center, Boston, and the Boston Lying-in Hospital. Kernicterus not only has been the chief cause of death in liveborn infants but has led to brain damage in a small percentage of surviving infants, who present an important and tragic socioeconomic problem. We have summarized the evidence2 which indicates that kernicterus is an acute condition of early postnatal life and have outlined the factors which are related to the likelihood of its occurrence in babies with erythroblastosis fetalis (high maternal titer, immaturity, male sex and previous occurrence in a family). We emphasized that maturity of the infant is an important

safeguard against the occurrence of kernicterus. It is the purpose of this paper to