The Kleihauer Technique: an accurate method of quantifying fetomaternal haemorrhage?


Correspondence: Mr J. R. A. Duckett, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Good Hope Hospital, Rectory Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B75 7RR, UK.


Blood was taken from 100 consecutive asymptomatic women at 17 to 18 weeks of pregnancy for Kleihauer testing. When a proportion of these slides were assessed at a different hospital there was agreement in only 46%. When the number of fetal cells were quantified there were differences of over 500%. These results show a large niter-observer and inter-hospital variation in interpreting Kleihauer slides. If these investigations are to be performed, it is essential that clinicians can rely on the results. There is a need for quality control measures and audit so that laboratories can rectify any deficiencies in their techniques.