Fetomaternal hemorrhage: evaluation of recurrence within a large integrated healthcare system


      Fetomaternal hemorrhage is associated with severe fetal morbidity and mortality. The recurrence risk of fetomaternal hemorrhage is unknown.


      We sought to establish the recurrence rate of fetomaternal hemorrhage in a large integrated healthcare system over a 10-year period.

      Study Design

      In this retrospective study within the Kaiser Permanente Northern California medical system, cases of fetomaternal hemorrhage were defined by either an elevated fetal hemoglobin level as determined by flow cytometry for a concerning pregnancy outcome (preterm delivery, perinatal demise, neonatal anemia, or transfusion within the first 2 days of life) or by perinatal demise with autopsy findings suggestive of fetomaternal hemorrhage. The outcomes of subsequent pregnancies were reviewed for features of recurrence.


      Within the 2008 to 2018 birth cohort of 375,864 pregnancies, flow cytometry testing for fetal hemoglobin levels was performed in 20,582 pregnancies. We identified 340 cases of fetomaternal hemorrhage (approximately 1 in 1100 births). Within the cohort of 340 affected pregnancies, perinatal loss was recorded for 80 (23.5%) pregnancies and 50 (14.7%) pregnancies delivered neonates who required transfusion. The affected patients had 225 subsequent pregnancies of which 210 were included in the analysis. Of these, 174 (82.9%) advanced beyond the threshold of viability and were delivered within our healthcare system. There was 1 case of recurrent fetomaternal hemorrhage identified. The recurrent case involved a spontaneous preterm delivery of an infant who was noted to have an elevated reticulocyte count but was clinically well.


      Within our large integrated healthcare system, approximately 1 in 1100 pregnancies was affected by fetomaternal hemorrhage within a 10-year period, which is comparable with previous studies. We identified 1 case of recurrence, yielding a recurrence rate of 0.5%. This infant did not have features of clinically important fetomaternal hemorrhage. This information can inform counseling of patients with affected pregnancies.

      Key words

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