Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Health Sciences Library, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
BACKGROUND Existing systematic reviews of Rh immunoprophylaxis include only data from randomized controlled trials, have dated searches, and some do not report on all domains of risk of bias or evaluate the certainty of the evidence. Our objective was to perform an updated review, by including new trials, any comparative observational studies, and assessing the certainty of the evidence using
the GRADE framework. METHODS We searched MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library from 2000 to November 26, 2019. Relevant websites and bibliographies of systematic reviews and guidelines were searched for studies published before 2000. Outcomes of interest were sensitization and adverse events. Risk of bias was evaluated with the Cochrane tool and ROBINS-I. The certainty of the evidence was performed using the GRADE framework. RESULTS Thirteen randomized trials and eight comparative cohort studies were identified, evaluating 12 comparisons. Although there is some evidence of beneficial treatment effects (e.g., at 6-months postpartum, fewer women who received RhIg at delivery compared to no RhIg became sensitized [70 fewer sensitized women per 1,000 (95%CI: 67 to 71 fewer); I2 = 73%]), due to very low certainty of the evidence, the magnitude of the treatment effect may be overestimated. The certainty of the evidence was very low for most outcomes often due to high risk of bias (e.g., randomization method, allocation concealment, selective reporting) and imprecision (i.e., few events and small sample sizes). There is limited evidence on prophylaxis for invasive fetal procedures (e.g. amniocentesis) in the comparative literature, and few studies reported adverse events. CONCLUSION Serious risk of bias and low to very low certainty of the evidence is found in existing RCTs and comparative observational studies addressing optimal effectiveness of Rh immunoprophylaxis. Guideline development committees should exercise caution when assessing the strength of the recommendations that inform and influence clinical practice in this area.