Hemolysis in fetus/newborns is often caused by maternal antibodies. There are currently no established screening procedures for maternal ABO antibodies harmful to fetus/newborn. We investigated the clinical significance, and predictive value of maternal anti-A/B titer for hyperbilirubinemia in ABO-incompatible newborns.
We conducted a case–control study of blood group O mothers and their ABO-compatible (O) vs. -incompatible (A/B) newborns receiving phototherapy, and of ABO-incompatible newborns receiving phototherapy vs. no phototherapy. Newborn data and treatment modalities were recorded, and total serum bilirubin and hemoglobin were measured. Maternal anti-A/B immunoglobulin-γ (IgG) titers were measured prenatally and perinatally, and negative and positive predictive values (NPV, PPV) were calculated to assess the risk of developing hyperbilirubinemia requiring phototherapy.
We found a significantly higher maternal IgG antibody titer in the case group (p < 0.001). Maternal anti-A/B titers at first trimester had modest predictive values: NPV = 0.82 and PPV = 0.65 for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia; titers at birth improved the predictive values: NPV = 0.93 and PPV = 0.73. Newborn hemoglobin was significantly lower in incompatibles compared to compatibles (p = 0.034). Furthermore, increased anti-A/B IgG production during pregnancy was associated with hyperbilirubinemia and hemolysis in incompatible newborns.
There was a significant association between maternal anti-A/B IgG titer and hyperbilirubinemia requiring treatment.