The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Introduction

Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN) is a set of pathophysiological consequences that occur before and/or after birth resulting from the destruction of fetal red blood cells by maternal antibody that reacts with an antigen or antigens inherited from the father. These consequences can be lessened by early laboratory diagnosis and treatment.

At one time, anti-D was the most common antibody implicated in severe HDFN. Due to the routine administration of Rh immune globulin (RhIG) to Rh-negative mothers, the incidence of anti-D HDFN has decreased substantially. The antibody has not been eliminated, however, and it is still implicated in HDFN and can be associated with severe disease.