Alloimmune thrombocytopenia in the fetus and newborn
Alloimmune thrombocytopenia is an interesting and challenging disease. Identification in the fetus and newborn by screening remains to be clarified. The primary clinical criterion for neonatal diagnosis appears to be a neonatal platelet count of <50 x 10(9)/L. Treatment of the neonate can be accomplished with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) +/- steroids or with matched platelet transfusion. Cranial ultrasonography is important. Testing can be performed on the parents and requires a highly experienced laboratory. If an affected fetus is identified, based on a previous affected neonate and a homozygous father, antenatal management is needed. Studies have been completed that inform the still controversial decision. IVIG remains the basis of therapy but appears to require a higher dose (2 g/kg/week) and/or the addition of 1 mg/kg of prednisone in the highest risk cases, those with antenatal intracranial hemorrhage.