Conditions + Treatments

Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn

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What is hemolytic disease of the newborn?

Hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) – also called erythroblastosis fetalis – is a blood disorder that occurs when the blood types of a mother and baby are incompatible. HDN is relatively uncommon in the United States due to advances in early detection and treatment, limiting it to approximately 4,000 cases a year. It is more likely to happen during a mother's second or subsequent pregnancy. There are two causes, Rh incompatibility and ABO incompatibility. HDN due to Rh incompatibility occurs more frequently and is often called Rh disease; it is about three times more likely in Caucasian babies than in African-American babies. HDN can be treated during pregnancy or after the baby is born.

How Dana-Farber/Boston Children's approaches hemolytic disease of the newborn

Hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) is treated through the Blood Disorders Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's. Hemolytic disease of the newborn was first identified in 1932 at Boston Children's Hospital by Dr. Louis Diamond. He went on to develop the first successful treatment, a transfusion procedure, in the 1940s.

Learn more
Find in-depth information on hemolytic disease of the newborn on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including answers to:

  • What causes hemolytic disease of the newborn?
  • Can hemolytic disease of the newborn be prevented?
  • What are the symptoms of hemolytic disease of the newborn?
  • How does a doctor know that it's hemolytic disease of the newborn?
  • How is hemolytic disease of the newborn treated?
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