Papers And Originals

Significance of Rh-sensitization during Pregnancy: Its Relation to a Preventive Programme

Br Med J 1968; 4 doi: (Published 23 November 1968) Cite this as: Br Med J 1968;4:479
  1. John C. Godel,
  2. Donald I. Buchanan,
  3. Jean M. Jarosch,
  4. Maureen McHugh


    A study of the incidence of Rh-sensitization showed a 6.5% incidence of anti-D appearing for the first time during the last trimester of pregnancy. In 24 of the 29 subjects these antibodies were weak, and were found only when a sensitive technique using enzyme-treated Rh-deletion test cells was employed. The remaining five, however, had high-titre antibodies, which were associated with a positive Coombs test on cord blood.

    Rh-immune globulin administered at delivery resulted in disappearance of the anti-D in all but one of the subjects with weak antibody to whom it was given, suggesting that this treatment can reverse early sensitization. There was no effect when Rh-immune globulin was given to one subject with a high anti-D titre.

    Since sensitization has been found to occur frequently during the last trimester of pregnancy, an antenatal schedule of prophylaxis is advocated.