Jacobs Journal of Emergency Medicine

Rh (C) Phenotype Among Pregnant Women in Sokoto, North Western Nigeria

Published on: 2016-11-16


 Rhesus antigens play a significant role in blood transfusion and Haemolytic Disease of the Foetus and Newborn. This study investigated the prevalence of Rhesus C antigens among pregnant women in Sokoto, North Western, Nigeria. A total of 155 pregnant women aged 18 to 45 years and mean age 27.19 ± 4.70 years attending ANC in UDUTH Sokoto were tested for Rh(C) phenotype using Lorne Laboratories of UK Anti-C reagent. Out of 155 subjects phenotyped, 40 (25.8%) were positive, while 115(74.2%) were negative. The prevalence of Rhesus C phenotype was compared based on ethnicity. The prevalence of Rhesus C phenotype was highest among the Fulani ethnic group (47.4%) followed by the Igbo (27.8%), Hausa (23.4%), Yoruba (22.2%) and other minority ethnic groups (13.3%) (p=0.01). The age distribution of subjects indicated that women in the 26-35yrs age group had the highest frequency 76 (49%), followed by 15-25 yrs 70 (45.2%) and 36-45yrs 9 (5.8%). Women educated to tertiary level (42.6%) and secondary level (31.6%) constituted a significant population of antenatal attendees compared to less educated women (21.9% and 3.9%) respectively for those with primary and non formal education (p=0.001). We recommend that a large randomized nationwide survey be carried out to determine the distribution of Rhesus antigens and alloantibodies among pregnant women. Knowledge of the distribution of red cell antigens can help to prevent alloimmunisation and haemolytic transfusion reaction among pregnant women and multi-transfused patients as well as facilitate the provision of antigen negative blood for pregnant women and transfusion- dependent patients with alloantibodies. It can also facilitate the optimum stocking of blood banks in the area based of the relative prevalence of the Rhesus C and the various clinically significant red cell antigens in the population. We recommend that detailed phenotyping for all clinically significant red cell antigen including Rhesus C antigen be carried out routinely among all pregnant women in Nigeria. There is also the need to routinely screen all pregnant women for alloantibodies at antenatal booking to identify women at risk for Rhesus C HDFN as well as facilitate the selection of antigen negative units for those with clinically significant alloantibodies who may require a red cell transfusion during pregnancy or delivery. 


Rhesus (C) phenotype, Pregnant Women, Haemolytic Disease, Transfusion Reaction