Within the past few years a triad of apparently closely associated disorders affecting the hematopoietic system of the fetus and the new-born infant has received considerable recognition in the pediatric literature. This group consists of universal edema of the fetus, familial icterus gravis neonatorum and congenital anemia of the new-born. Attention was early called to the relationship existing between universal edema of the fetus and icterus gravis neonatorum by the frequent familial incidence and the similarity of the pathologic pictures. However, congenital anemia of the new-born is a rather newly defined clinical entity, and its association with universal edema of the fetus and icterus gravis neonatorum has therefore only recently been appreciated.
Universal edema of the fetus1 (congenital fetal hydrops) is a relatively rare condition that has been known for several centuries. The most striking feature of the disease is generalized edema. The liver and spleen are greatly enlarged.