Glucose phosphate isomerase (GPI) deficiency with severe haemolysis and hydrops fetalis was found in the first child of unrelated, healthy Caucasian parents. The child died at 3 hours. Both parents were found to have 50% of normal red cell GPI activity and qualitative tests on their red cells and white cells showed that each was heterozygous for a different GPI variant allele associated with enzyme deficiency. Tests on the placenta showed that the propositus was a 'compound' heterozygote. Examination of amniotic cells obtained by amniocentesis on the mother at 28 weeks in her second pregnancy led to the prenatal diagnosis of GPI deficiency. This second child, a 'compound' heterozygote at the GPI locus indistinguishable from the first, was successfully treated by immediate exchange transfusion and subsequent blood transfusions.
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