Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2020;9(1):43-47. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2019.01094)

Minor blood group incompatibility due to blood groups other than Rh(D) leading to hemolytic disease of fetus and newborn: a need for routine antibody screening during pregnancy

Agrawal A, Hussain KS, Kumar A


Minor blood group incompatibility due to blood groups other than Rh(D), although an uncommon cause of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, has the potential to cause severe hyperbilirubinemia and its sequelae in infants, if left undiagnosed and untreated. Here, we describe clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of three cases of minor blood group incompatibility due to anti-E and anti-c antibody. All three neonates presented with pallor, icterus and splenomegaly within the first three days of life. Investigations showed indirect hyperbilirubinemia and a positive direct coombs test. Indirect coombs test was positive in the mothers. There was no setting of ABO or Rh(D) incompatibility in any of the neonates. When tested for minor blood group incompatibility, anti E antibody was found to be responsible for hemolysis and hyperbilirubinemia in the first case, and anti c antibody was found in the second case and third case had both anti c and anti E antibodies. While hyperbilirubinemia improved with intensive phototherapy in the first two cases, the third case required a double volume exchange transfusion. On follow up, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss was seen in one of the patients. All three neonates were otherwise healthy, gaining weight and developmentally normal.

KEYWORDS: antibody screening, hemolytic disease of newborn, minor blood group, neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, red cell allo-immunization

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