Survey of newborn direct antiglobulin testing practice in United States and Canadian transfusion services

Elizabeth P. Crowe, Ruchika Goel, Jennifer Andrews, Erin K. Meyer, Trisha E. Wong, Steven R. Sloan, Meghan Delaney, Lani Lieberman, Melissa M. Cushing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: We hypothesized that variability in practice exists for newborn immunohematology testing due to lack of consensus guidelines. We report the results of a survey assessing that variability at hospitals in the United States and Canada. Study Design and Methods: An AABB Pediatric Subsection working party developed and validated a survey of newborn immunohematology testing practice. The survey was sent electronically to transfusion service leadership at teaching institutions. Results: The response rate was 67% (61/91); 56 surveys meeting inclusion criteria were analyzed. Approximately 90% (50/56) were from birth hospitals and 16.1% (9/56) were from pediatric hospitals. Newborn immunohematology testing is ordered as a panel by 66.0% (33/50) of birth hospitals. ABO group and DAT is mandated before discharge in 14/56 (25.0%) and 13/56 (23.2%), respectively. About 76.8% (43/56) selectively perform a DAT according to blood blank or clinical parameters. The most common DAT practices include anti-IgG only testing by 73.2% (41/56) and use of umbilical cord specimen type by 67.9% (38/56). A positive DAT is a critical value for 26.8% (15/56) and followed with eluate testing when a maternal antibody screen is positive for 48.2% (27/56). In the setting of a non-ABO maternal red cell antibody, 55.4% (31/56), phenotype neonatal red cells when the DAT is positive. Group O RBC are transfused irrespective of the DAT result for 82.1%, (46/56). Conclusion: There is variability in newborn immunohematology testing and transfusion practice and potential overutilization of the DAT. Evidence-based consensus guidelines should be developed to standardize practice and to improve safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1092
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • direct antiglobulin test
  • hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn
  • immunohematology
  • newborn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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