Unexplained hemolytic anemia associated with pregnancy

N. F. Starksen, W. R. Bell, T. S. Kickler

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Unexplained hemolytic anemia in pregnancy is a rare condition. Striking anemia beginning in the first (38%) or second (38%) trimester, resolving within 5 months of delivery (18 of 19 patients, 95%) and recurring in a subsequent pregnancy (six of 12 patients, 50%) was noted in a total of 19 pregnancies in 12 women. Transient hemolysis was present in four of 19 (22%) infants. The etiology of this problem is unknown, and the only factor clearly associatd with the anemia is the gravid state. Characteristic of this problem is the absence of any identifiable immune mechanism of intracorpuscular or extracorpuscular defects despite the use of specific and sensitive complement-fixation antibody consumption techniques and assay of all red blood cell enzymes. Important in the management of these patients is the clinical observation that they do respond (seven of seven patients) to corticosteroid therapy and can experience a normal delivery. Although not frequent, this problem can be life threatening to both mother and child. With early recognition and appropriate treatment with corticosteroids the hazards of this condition can be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-622
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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