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Haemoglobinopathy in Pregnancy: Diagnosis and Treatment

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Haemoglobinopathies differ in geographic prevalence but together are amongst the most common genetic disorders worldwide. Despite huge diagnostic progress, therapeutic options remain limited, with many treatments still at the experimental stage, no more so than in pregnancy: not only does the presence of a fetus subject treatments to greater limitations, but also any worsening of the anaemia as pregnancy progresses results in higher fetomaternal morbidity and mortality. Anaemia weakens the response to peripartum blood loss, with the risk of postpartum complications. Until recently the standard conventional therapy for severe anaemia was (repeated) blood transfusion, with its well-known risks. Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) can induce fetal haemoglobin and is a safer, if less immediately effective, alternative for the correction of anaemia in pregnant patients with haemoglobinopathy.

Keywords: anaemia; haemoglobin; haemoglobinopathy; pregnancy; recombinant human erythropoietin

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Perinatal Physiology Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Zurich University Hospital, Frauenklinikstrasse 10, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland.

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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