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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Oct;171(4):1047-51.

The use of polymerase chain reaction to determine fetal RhD status.

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  • 1Center for Medical Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.



Our purpose was (1) to establish the accuracy of a deoxyribonucleic acid amplification method in determination of RhD status in adult blood samples, including weak D variants (previously referred to as Du) and a D mosaic, and (2) to apply the method to determine fetal RhD status in alloimmunized pregnancies.


Twenty-five adult blood samples, including five weak D variants and one D mosaic, were analyzed with a polymerase chain reaction to determine RhD type. The method was then applied to amniotic fluid samples obtained by amniocentesis from three RhD-negative women with known RhD sensitization.


RhD type determined by polymerase chain reaction for all adult blood samples agreed with serologic typing results. All weak D variants and the D mosaic gave results consistent with RhD positivity. Fetal RhD status was determined in each of the three alloimmunized pregnancies, and obstetric management decisions were made on the basis of these results.


This polymerase chain reaction method allows rapid and accurate determinations of fetal RhD status by amniocentesis. Fetal blood sampling or serial amniocenteses may be avoided when the fetus is RhD negative, and plans for surveillance and intervention can be confidently made if the fetus is RhD positive. However, before the widespread use of this assay, its sensitivity and specificity must be established. Because weak D variants and a D mosaic demonstrated RhD-positive status by polymerase chain reaction, the method described is applicable to these RhD variants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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