A woman who has been found to have a serious immune disease at the 29th week of gestation MAY carry the pregnancy to term. Her baby, at risk of severe anemia, was saved from a transfusion while still in the womb. The operation took place in the obstetrics and gynecology clinic of the Chieti hospital where the doctors performed intra uterine blood transfusion on the fetus. It is an advanced and invasive procedure, performed only in very few prenatal medicine centers, as it involves a high risk for the fetus. It is performed using the vessels of the umbilical cord.
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“We have put in an extraordinary team work – he explained Francesco D’antonio, professor of gynecology and obstetrics, specialist in fetal diagnosis and therapy and pregnancies at risk – because the blood to be transfused must undergo a very complex preparation, which was performed by the transfusion center ”.
“Our operational unit – said the director Marco Liberati – is devoting great attention to fetal diagnosis and therapy, as well as to very high-risk pregnancies, including twins for which we have a dedicated assistance center, unique in Abruzzo. We welcome pregnant women from other regions, and we are engaged in intense research on fetal pathology and prenatal diagnosis, which places us at the top of Europe, and allows us to offer women quality assistance “.
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What are the consequences of anemia in the fetus
Doctors had discovered that due to the mother’s illness, the red blood cells in the fetus’s blood were recognized as foreign by the maternal antibodies and were therefore destroyed. The immediate consequence was the reduction in the speed of fetal blood flow, i.e. the lack of capacity to transport oxygen to the heart of the fetus, causing fatigue. A high-risk situation: repeated reductions in hemoglobin can in fact lead, in addition to heart failure, to an increase in venous pressure. The appearance of effusions also indicates that the anemia is very severe and if not addressed can even result in the death of the child. And this is what happened to the mother and her child from Chieti and which alarmed the doctors of the hospital who decided to intervene with the transfusion of blood in the uterus. Her hemoglobin values were so low that her pregnancy was at risk. Mom and son are fine and in 12 weeks the baby will be born.