NAIT is characterised by the destruction of platelets in the fetus or newborn in response to certain platelet antigens (surface proteins) that the fetus has inherited paternally but are not present in the mother.
Platelets are the smallest type of cells that circulate in the blood and are important in preventing and stopping bleeding.
The mother sees these antigens as “foreign” and may respond by producing antibodies against these intruders. Antibodies, an important part of the body’s immune system, may cross the placenta, enter the baby’s bloodstream and destroy the platelets. Spontaneous bleeding into the brain (intracranial hemorrhage) or other major organs may occur, putting the baby at serious risk of death or permanent brain damage causing lifelong disabilities.
Occurring in approximately 1:1000 pregnancies NAIT is the most common cause of severely low platelets in an otherwise healthy neonate. It is often undiagnosed or mis-diagnosed.
Signs apparent at birth may include petechiae, which is bruising that appears when blood vessels (capillaries) rupture and leak into the skin. If subsequent pregnancies are not treated they may also be at risk.
No country carries out antenatal screening for NAIT although it has been known about since the 1950’s and is very well documented. Screening for NAIT should be standard and routine
Rarer diseases are screened for
If you would like information or have been diagnosed with or suspect that you may have Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopena and would like to be put in touch with our private support group please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Research and treatment protocols are ongoing.
Always consult a qualified medical specialist in this field. Cases of neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia should be managed in specialised Fetal Medicine Units.
We are not medical doctors. All references and materials are for educational and information purposes only.