Rh disease may get all the headlines, but immunologic reactions to the Kell antigen can be just as lethal to a K1-positive fetus—if not more so.
With the help of PCR analysis, cell-free fetal RhD antigen can be detected in maternal serum, offering the promise of detecting mother/child incompatibilities long before any clinical damage can occur. Here's a brief overview of the technology and why it's still not ready for prime time in the U.S.
Once a common cause of perinatal death, Rhesus (Rh) disease is now quite rare in pregnant women, thanks in large part to advances in ultrasound and DNA technology. But the fact that roughly 7 out of every 1,000 liveborn infants are delivered by Rh-sensitized women emphasizes the need for more vigorous preventive efforts and up-to-date management skills.