Fetal and Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia

  • Justin Juskewitch
  • Jeffrey L. WintersEmail author


Fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia [FNAIT] is a rare but potentially devastating condition that occurs when mothers form alloantibodies to paternally inherited fetal platelet antigens (often members of a human platelet antigen group). Unlike hemolytic disease of the newborn and fetus due to maternal erythrocyte alloantibodies, FNAIT commonly occurs during a mother’s very first pregnancy and thus is not realized until the birth of an affected child. Affected fetuses and neonates can suffer from mucocutaneous bleeding, intracranial hemorrhage, and even death. These same anti-platelet alloantibodies can also cause post-transfusion purpura, a rare transfusion reaction that causes isolated, unexplained, and profound thrombocytopenia several days after a blood transfusion (usually after receiving a non-platelet blood product). Post-transfusion purpura also inexplicably involves the destruction of the recipient’s own native platelets and has a 5–10% mortality rate from bleeding complications.


Alloimmune thrombocytopenia Neonate Fetus Post-transfusion purpura Human platelet antigens 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Transfusion Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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