Alloimmune thrombocytopenia: State of the art 2006
Antigens, Human Platelet
In alloimmune thrombocytopenia maternal immunoglobulin G anti-platelet alloantibodies cross the placenta and cause fetal thrombocytopenia. The diagnosis requires laboratory demonstration of incompatibility between a maternal and paternal platelet alloantigen, and detection of maternal antibody to the discordant paternal alloantigen. This disorder should be treated in utero because of its propensity to cause fetal intracranial bleeding. Administration of intravenous immunoglobulin 1 gm/kg/wk to the mother is successful in substantially raising the platelet count in many fetuses, but this is most successful if the count is >20,000/mL3 at the time that the therapy is initiated. The addition of prednisone administered daily to the mother and/or increasing the dose of intravenous immunoglobulin has a therapeutic benefit in cases that have failed to respond to initial therapy with intravenous immunoglobulin alone. The only reliable noninvasive indicator of the potential for severe fetal thrombocytopenia is a history of an antenatal intracranial hemorrhage in a prior affected sibling. Because fetal blood sampling to determine the fetal platelet count may be associated with significant fetal morbidity, attempts are being made to derive a rational, non-invasive, stratified approach to patient-specific therapy of this disorder in affected pregnancies.