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March 1959

Fetomaternal Transfusion

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and the Children's Medical Center.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;97(3):267-273. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070010269002

While the hemolytic process of erythroblastosis fetalis is by far the commonest cause of neonatal anemia, fetal anemia may result from a variety of causes.1 Posthemorrhagic anemia of the newborn usually results from premature placenta separation or rupture of a placental blood vessel. A more subtle form of fetal hemorrhage was suggested by Weiner,2 who postulated that transplacental bleeding into the maternal circulation could explain certain cases of nonhemolytic anemia of the newborn. In 1954 Chown3 was able to prove this hypothesis in a case of neonatal anemia by demonstrating fetal cells in the maternal circulation. A number of definite instances of this syndrome have been reported since then,1,4-9 as well as several probable cases.10,11 Despite the frequency with which the condition is being reported, sufficient emphasis has not been given to the marked variability of the clinical signs and laboratory findings in these cases.

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