What is the role of a Kleihauer-Betke test in the workup of abruptio placentae?

Updated: Nov 30, 2018
  • Author: Shad H Deering, MD; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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Findings help to detect fetal red blood cells in the maternal circulation.

If the abruption is significant, inadvertent transfusion of fetal blood into the maternal circulation may occur. In women who are Rh-negative, this fetal-to-maternal transfusion may lead to isoimmunization of the mother to Rh factor. Kleihauer-Betke test findings help to determine the volume of fetal blood transfused into the maternal circulation.

All patients who are D-negative should receive Rho (D) immune globulin (RhoGAM) after significant trauma. Kleihauer-Betke test findings may help to determine the appropriate dosage of Rho (D) immune globulin in cases of significant fetal-maternal hemorrhage.

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