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BOWMAN J M MD; POLLOCK, J M RT; PETERSON, L E BSc; HARMAN, C R MD; MANNING, F A MD; MENTICOGLOU, S M MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology: November 1994
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Objective: To determine the prevalence of fetomaternal transplacental hemorrhage after funipuncture and its effect on maternal red-cell alloantibody levels.

Methods: The prevalence and size of transplacental hemorrhages at the Health Sciences Centre were studied in two groups of patients: 174 women who were not alloimmunized or were carrying fetuses whose red cells were negative for the antigen to which they were immunized, and 122 women who were alloimmunized and carrying fetuses whose red cells were positive for the antigen to which they were immunized. In the alloimmunized group with affected fetuses, we surveyed the incidence of maternal antibody increase in titer by two or more doubling dilutions and the Rh(D) antibody increase (in /xg/mL of serum) of more than 50% after funipuncture.

Results: One hundred of the 174 women (57.5%) in the nonimmunized group and 69 of the 122 women (56.6%) in the immunized group had evidence of transplacental hemorrhages ranging in volume from 0.03 mL to greater than 5 mL of fetal red blood cells. In the latter group, antibody titer increases of 2 to 9 and doubling dilutions occurred in 37 of 74 women (50%) in whom such measurements were carried out. Increases of anti-D exceeding 50% occurred in 44 of 53 women (83%) in whom quantitative measurements were assayed.

Conclusion: Funipuncture carries a high risk of fetal transplacental hemorrhage. In the immunized woman carrying an antigen-positive fetus, this will increase the level of her antibody and probably increase the severity of hemolytic disease in her fetus. In alloimmunized women, funipuncture should rarely be carried out to determine the fetal antigen status. Serial amniocenteses combined with careful serial ultrasound observation of the fetus are safer. Funipuncture should not be done in alloimmunized women before the cord vessels are of adequate size to allow immediate intravascular fetal transfusion, if required.

© 1994 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists