Clinical and laboratory predictors of fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background

    Fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) is the most common cause of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in thrombocytopenic term infants. We investigated clinical and laboratory predictors of severe FNAIT in a tertiary care referral center.

    Study design and methods

    Retrospective cohort study over a 30-year period. We defined FNAIT as recurrence of neonatal thrombocytopenia in a subsequent pregnancy; and severe outcomes as any of: (1) a birth platelet count below 20 × 109 /L; (2) ICH or (3) fetal death. We used a generalized estimating equations analysis and classification tree analysis to identify risk factors for severe FNAIT in a subsequent pregnancy.


    During index pregnancies (n = 135 in 131 mothers), 71 infants (52.6%) had severe outcomes including a platelet count <20 × 109 /L (n = 45), fetal or neonatal ICH (n = 32), or fetal death (n = 4). During subsequent pregnancies (n = 72), 15 infants (20.8%) had severe outcomes including birth platelets <20 × 109 /L (n = 10), ICH (n = 2), or death (n = 3). Forty-two women (58.3%) received antenatal intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) during subsequent pregnancies. Eight mothers (n = 9 infants) had severe FNAIT outcomes despite receiving antenatal IVIG. Maternal antibodies to human platelet antigens (HPA) was the only independent predictor of severe FNAIT in a subsequent pregnancy (OR = 25.3, p = .004). Nevertheless, one of 43 infants from antibody-negative mothers had a severe outcome.


    The presence of anti-HPA is highly indicative of the diagnosis of severe FNAIT; however, we observed one infant who had severe FNAIT recurrence, defined using strict clinical criteria, without a maternal antibody. Improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies are needed to prevent severe FNAIT in high-risk mothers.


  • Matusiak, Kristine
  • Patriquin, Christopher J
  • Deniz, Stacy
  • Dzaja, Nancy
  • Smith, James W
  • Wang, Grace
  • Nazy, Ishac
  • Kelton, John
  • Arnold, Donald

publication date

  • November 2022