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Procedure: Kleihauer-Betke (K-B) Test

Description and Purpose

The Kleihauer-Betke (KB) test, also known as acid elution for foetal haemoglobin , is where blood is drawn from the mother's vein and tested for the presence of foetal cells, in order to determine the amount of Rh immune globulin an Rh-negative woman must receive to prevent her from developing antibodies, or abnormal proteins, against her foetus.


Blood is drawn from a vein and analysed for the presence of foetal cells with a special staining technique known as the Kleihauer-Betke method . The greater the foetal blood leakage into the mother's circulation, the greater the amount of Rh immune globulin the mother must receive.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. The Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to Medical Tests, Barry L. Zaret M.D., Senior Editor, published by Houghton Mifflin. Online: common_procedures/doppler_ultrasound.html

Other HON resources 
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Kleihauer-Betke Test
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Contact Last modified: Oct 20 2004