U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 45-year-old member asked:

An rh-positive baby is suffering from erythroblastosis fetalis. why would an exchange transfusion be performed?

4 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Dugan
Specializes in Hematology
To remove: The anti-rh antibodies and stom the rbc destruction.
Dr. Juan Merayo-Rodriguez
Pathology 24 years experience
Increase RBC mass: Most likely the mother is Rh neg. and has made anti-Rh antibodies destroying baby's Rh pos. red cells. Exchange transfusion to the baby with Rh neg. blood will prevent hemolysis or transfused blood and increase oxygen capacity for the newborn. This process will also decrease the amount of bilirubin in baby's plasma and prevent kernicterus (yellow staining seen in parts of the brain)
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 51 years experience
"...of transfused blood". Last time I did an exchange transfusion for Rh incompatibility was in the early 70's. Your explanation is clear & concise. Kudos.
Nov 13, 2014
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 years experience
Complex but simple: The increase in the bilirubin (dangerous) reflects a destruction of the babies red cells by antibodies. If you REMOVE the babies cells that are fragile & breaking down & replace them with ones that don't, then the destruction slows/stops. The exchange blood lasts long enough for the babies body to catch up with any left over jaundice & get on with being a newborn.
Dr. Juan Merayo-Rodriguez
Pathology 24 years experience
Increase RBC mass: Most likely the mother is Rh neg. and has made anti-Rh antibodies destroying baby's Rh pos. red cells. Exchange transfusion to the baby with Rh neg. blood will prevent hemolysis or transfused blood and increase oxygen capacity for the newborn. This process will also decrease the amount of bilirubin in baby's plasma and prevent kernicterus (yellow staining seen in parts of the brain)

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership
Last updated Aug 21, 2017
Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.