Kell antibodies


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Reply Kell antibodies Posted on: Oct 13, 2010 at 3:38pm
I was recently informed that I tested postitive for Kell antibodies, as part of pre-natal blood tests. They are doing follow-up tests to determine how high the effect is. I was also recently diagnosed as having one copy of Factor 5. This test was done following a miscarriage this summer. The Kell is suspected to originate from a major blood transfusion I received this past year (due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy). Right now the Ob/Gyn and Hematologists are taking a wait and see approach. I also happen to be Rh-. My husband will be tested for Kell and Rh soon. Should I be more proactive about this, or go along with the wait and see approach recommended? I am currently 8 weeks and 2 days pregnant with all the symptoms of a healthy pregnancy.

Thank you.

Dr. Braverman

2026 Posts
Re: Kell antibodies Posted on: Oct 13, 2010 at 5:49pm
The most important issue now is to know whether both of you carry one to two genes for the Kell antigen. (i.e. homozygous or heterozygous) . If you each have at least one gene that is Kell negative then there is a chance the baby will be Kell negative and there will be no problem. This will require an early amnio to determine. They also have to determine if this is a passive antibody(you got the antibody from the transfuison) or whether your body has reacted to a Kell antigen on the donor blood and you are making the antibody(we dont want this), but if this is the case and both of you are at least heterozygous there is a chance the baby is Kell neg(can only happen if the baby gets one Kell neg gene from each of you).
You both need to be tested not just your husband to see if you are hetero or homozygous for kell. you still need treatment with Rhogam if your husband is RH+.
Lastly if the baby is Kell positive and this is not just a "passive" antibody from the transfusion, you have risks to the pregnancy but it can still me monitored and treated and intervention only needs to take place if there are signs of an immune attack against the baby(i.e intrauterine exchange transfusions for the baby) obviously this requires very specialized centers.
I hope this helps good luck.
Dr. Jeffrey Braverman MD FACOG
Medical Director
Braverman Reproductive Immunology P.C.