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I. Theoretic Considerations

Am J Dis Child. 1946;71(1):14-24. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1946.02020240021002.
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THE discovery1 of the Rh factor quickly attracted the attention of the medical profession because this property of human blood proved to be of clinical importance in explaining the great majority of intragroup hemolytic transfusion reactions2 and erythroblastosis fetalis,3 a group of disorders of the fetus and the newborn infant of common or related causation, namely, icterus gravis neonatorum, hemolytic anemia of the newborn, hydrops fetalis and certain unexplained stillbirths. In the present series of papers the discussion will be limited to erythroblastosis fetalis, which is better known as hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn or, now that the pathogenesis of this condition is better understood, as congenital hemolytic disease.

According to the theory of Levine and others,3a,b in the typical case the father is Rh positive, the mother is Rh negative and the fetus is Rh positive, having inherited the Rh factor from the


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