Since Landsteiner and Wiener (1940–41) discovered the Rh factor in 85 per cent of the white population, the knowledge of this new blood factor and its antibody has claimed an outstanding interest. It may be recalled that on the one hand accidents occur following repeated transfusions of Rh-positive blood into Rh-negative individuals, as Wiener and Peters (1940) first pointed out. On the other hand, Levine and his co-workers (1939 to 1942) demonstrated that accidents may be caused by the very first transfusion of blood of the homologous group when Rh-positive blood is used in Rh-negative intra- or post-partum patients. Here isoimmunization from the foetus in utero is responsible for the formation of Rh antibodies in the mother. Finally, Levine, Katzin, and Burnham, Levine and Polayes (1941) observed that the majority of women giving birth to infants with erythroblastosis foetalis are Rh-negative and develop antibodies against the Rh factor, the baby being Rh-positive.

This content is only available via PDF.