How to Treat Rhesus Disease?

  • December 16, 2023
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How to Treat Rhesus Disease?

What is Rhesus Disease?

The Rh factor, a protein present on red blood cells, determines blood type and is inherited from biological parents. When an Rh-negative mother carries an Rh-positive fetus during pregnancy, Rh factor incompatibility can lead to Rhesus Disease. This condition arises when the mother's immune system reacts adversely to the Rh-positive blood cells of the fetus, potentially causing severe complications.

Fortunately, medical interventions such as Rh Immunoglobulin administration have proven effective in preventing Rh factor incompatibility complications. Administered around the 28th week of pregnancy and postpartum, RhIg helps suppress the mother's immune response, minimizing the risk of sensitization and the associated destruction of fetal red blood cells. These advancements in treatment significantly contribute to the successful management of Rhesus Disease and the overall well-being of both the mother and the newborn.

Why Does Rhesus Disease Occur?

Understanding the origins of Rhesus Disease is crucial to developing effective treatment strategies. The condition emerges when an Rh-negative mother's immune system responds adversely to the Rh-positive blood cells of her fetus. This sensitization often occurs during a previous pregnancy or when fetal blood cells enter the mother's bloodstream due to certain events like trauma or invasive medical procedures. This exposure prompts the mother's immune system to generate antibodies against Rh-positive blood cells. If subsequent pregnancies involve Rh-positive babies, these antibodies may cross the placenta, initiating an immune response that results in the destruction of fetal red blood cells, leading to severe complications.

How Does Rhesus Disease Impact Pregnancy?

Rhesus Disease has far-reaching consequences, affecting both the developing fetus and the newborn. The antibodies produced by the mother's immune system can trigger hemolysis, the breakdown of red blood cells, causing fetal anemia. Left untreated, this condition can lead to various complications, including jaundice, organ failure, and, in extreme cases, fetal or neonatal death. The severity of Rhesus Disease underscores the critical need for timely and effective treatment.