Rhesus Disease Essay

825 Words 4 Pages
Rhesus disease (Rh disease) is a condition that occurs between a mother and her fetus when their blood types are incompatible. This condiiont occurs when an Rh-negative woman conceives a baby with an Rh-positive father and the baby inherits the Rh-positive blood type from the father. Rh-positive means that the protein (D antigen) can be found on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). If the D antigen is not present, then an individual is considered to be Rh-negative If the mother is Rh-negative and the baby is Rh-positive during pregnancy (mainly during the process of labor and delivery) it is possible that some of the fetus’s Rh-positive RBCs may get into the mother’s bloodstream which is where the problem begins. Because the RBCs are unfamiliar …show more content…
Maternal Rh antibodies are produced after sensitization with fetal Rh-positive erythrocytes and as a consequence, fetal autoimmune hemolysis occurs. As a result, massive amounts of bilirubin are created from the breakdown of fetal hemoglobin and are transferred through the placenta to the mother where they are consequently conjugated and excreted by the mother. Yet, once distributed, low levels of glucuronyl transferase in the infant prohibit the joining of large amounts of bilirubin and may result in hazardously elevated levels of serum bilirubin and astringent …show more content…
Mildly affected infants can have little to no anemia and may show only hyperbilirubinemia because of the continuing hemolytic effect of the Rh antibodies that have crossed the placenta previously. Moderately affected infants can have a mixture of both anemia and hyperbilirubinemia/jaundice. In severe cases of fetal hyperbilirubinemia, kernicterus develops. Kernicterus is a neurological condition caused by the deposition of bilirubin into central nervous system tissues. Kernicterus typically only occurs several days after the delivery of the infant and is characterized by the loss of their Moro (startle) reflex, posture, poor feeding, inactivity, high-pitched cry or shrilling, and also seizures. Infants who overcome kernicterus may develop hypotonia, hearing loss, and also mental retardation as they grow older. Severe hemolytic anemia and jaundice is another life threatening condition that can be seen in infants affected by Rh disease from erythroblastosis fetalis. Severe forms of erythroblastosis can be characterized by extreme pale pigment of the newborn due to hematocrit levels being below 5, high output cardiac failure, ascites, edema, extramedullary hematopoiesis, and pericardial effusion. Death often occurs just before or after the delivery of the infant due to hydrops fetalis if left

Related Documents