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    Rh sensitization occurs when Rh(D)-negative women develop anti-Rh(D) antibodies following exposure through pregnancy or transfusion. Rh disease may cause jaundice, anemia, neurological impairment, and death. It is rare in countries where Rh Immune Globulin (RhIg) is used. Canadian Rh sensitization and disease rates are unknown. This survey-based study was conducted using a Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program questionnaire sent to Canadian paediatricians and paediatric subspecialists to solicit Rh disease cases from May 2016 to June 2018. Paediatricians reported Rh-positive infants ≤ 60 days of age, born to Rh-negative mothers with RhD sensitization. Sixty-two confirmed cases of infants affected by Rh(D) sensitization were reported across Canada. The median gestational age of neonates was term, age at presentation was 2 hours, and hemoglobin at presentation was 137.5 g/L (33 to 203 g/L). The median peak bilirubin and phototherapy duration were 280 µmol/L (92 to 771 µmol/L), and 124 hours, respectively. Thirty (48%) infants received Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) (median two doses). Seventeen (27%) received one to three simple transfusions; 10 (16%) required exchange transfusions. Six (10%) infants presented with acute bilirubin encephalopathy, and less than five presented with seizures. Fourteen mothers with affected infants were born outside of Canada. Rh disease continues to exist in Canada. Additional efforts are needed to raise awareness of Rh disease, prevent disease, and minimize sequelae when it does occur. The ongoing global burden of Rh Disease, as well as the possibility of emerging Rh immunoglobulin refusal are among factors that could be taken into consideration in future prevention efforts. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Canadian Paediatric Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


    Jillian M Baker, Douglas M Campbell, Katerina Pavenski, Aasha Gnanalingam, Kathleen Hollamby, Thivia Jegathesan, Alvin Zipursky, Vinod Bhutani, Michael Sgro, NeoHBC. Infants affected by Rh sensitization: A 2-year Canadian National Surveillance Study. Paediatrics & child health. 2021 Jun;26(3):159-165

    PMID: 33936335

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