Perinatal outcomes and central nervous system abnormalities following intrauterine fetal transfusion: 17 years’ experience in a tertiary center

  • Date created

    21 de septiembre de 2020

  • Last updated

    28 de noviembre de 2020

Sánchez-Durán MÁ, Higueras MT, Avilés-García M, Maiz N, Rodríguez-Aliberas M, Arévalo S, Vázquez E, Ruiz Campillo CW, Carreras E. Perinatal outcomes and central nervous system abnormalities following intrauterine fetal transfusion: 17 years’ experience in a tertiary center. Transfusion. 2020 Nov;60(11):2557-2564. doi: 10.1111/trf.16087. Epub 2020 Sep 21. PMID: 32955746.


Background: This study aimed to describe the perinatal outcome and central nervous system (CNS) anomalies in fetuses undergoing red blood cell (RBC) intrauterine transfusion (IUT).

Methods and materials: This was an observational single-cohort study carried out at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, between 2002 and 2018 in women undergoing RBC IUT for suspected fetal anemia. Primary outcomes were adverse perinatal outcome (intrauterine or neonatal death and termination of pregnancy [TOP]), prenatal or postnatal CNS anomalies, and significant neurological impairment.

Results: A total of 145 RBC transfusions were performed in 68 pregnancies of 60 women. The median gestational age for the first transfusion was 26 weeks (range, 18-32). Twenty-two (32%) fetuses were hydropic at the first transfusion. Fifty-eight pregnancies (85.3%) resulted in live births and 10 (14.7%) in adverse perinatal outcomes. Adverse perinatal outcomes were associated with hydrops (odds ratio [OR], 6.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.53-29.23; P = .012) and gestational age at first transfusion (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54-0.89; P = .04). Four (5.9%) cases of cerebellar hemorrhage were diagnosed prenatally. In 14 (35%) of the 41 neonates undergoing brain ultrasound and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities were reported. The median follow-up was 6.5 years (range, 3 months to 19 years). Significant neurological impairment was reported in two cases (4.2%).

Conclusion: In fetuses undergoing intrauterine RBC transfusion, the survival rate is high, particularly in the absence of hydrops and if the gestational age at first transfusion is above 22 weeks. Significant neurological impairment is uncommon, despite the fact that postnatal CNS anomalies at ultrasound or MRI are frequent.

Keywords: Isoimmunization; central nervous system abnormalities; cranial magnetic resonance imaging; cranial ultrasound; intrauterine transfusion; neurologic deficit; parvovirus B19; perinatal outcome.