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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2008 Aug;13(4):223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2008.02.008. Epub 2008 Apr 8.

Fetal thrombocytopenia.

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  • 1Department of Immunohaematology Diagnostic Services, Sanquin Diagnostic Services (CLB), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Fetal thrombocytopenia is most often caused by maternal alloantibodies against fetal platelets crossing the placenta and resulting in platelet destruction. This condition, known as fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, is usually detected after the birth of a symptomatic child who shows signs of bleeding in the skin or in the brain. In the most severe cases, intracranial hemorrhage leads to severe handicap or death. The challenge for the clinician is to provide preventive treatment in the next pregnancy. The current cornerstone of this treatment is maternal intravenous administration of immunoglobulins during the second half of pregnancy.

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