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Disproportionate Septal Hypertrophy Associated With Erythroblastosis Fetalis

Brian S. Carter, MC, USA; Jane E. DiGiacomo, MD; Scott M. Balderston, MC, USN; James W. Wiggins, MD; Gerald B. Merenstein, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(11):1225-1228. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150350057024.
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• We retrospectively reviewed clinical and echocardiographic data on 10 new-borns with erythroblastosis fetalis who were admitted to our nurseries between 1984 and 1988 and who required a doublevolume exchange transfusion and neonatal intensive care. Echocardiograms were performed in the first 48 hours of life. In 5 patients, disproportionate septal hypertrophy was demonstrated; 1 additional patient had biventricular hypertrophy with a thickened septum but not disproportionate septal hypertrophy. The mean septal: left ventricular free-wall ratio for the group (n=10) was 1.37. No correlation was apparent between the occurrence of disproportionate septal hypertrophy and new-born glucose, bilirubin, or hematocrit values. When analyzed separately, the 4 patients who did not receive intrauterine blood transfusions had a ratio of 1.73 ± 0.21 (mean ± SEM); this was significantly greater than the ratio in the 6 patients who were transfused in utero (1.13±0.24). In patients who underwent transfusions, there was no correlation between the number of transfusions and the septal:left ventricular ratio. This study reports a significant but previously unrecognized cardiac hypertrophy with disproportionate septal hypertrophy in patients with erythroblastosis fetalis. Our data suggest a sparing effect of intrauterine fetal transfusions. The mechanism by which these transfusions may affect the hypertrophic development of the myocardium remains to be determined.

(AJDC. 1990;144:1225-1228)

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