Blog Post

What’s Your Blood Group?

25 January 2018

You’re probably aware of eight basic blood types: A, AB, B and O, each of which can be either ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

That’s important, because a patient that receives ABO +/- incompatible blood will very often experience a dangerous reaction – you can discover more about why is blood grouping important in our blog post.

But that’s not the whole story. For the sake of simplicity, the Red Cross talks primarily about the eight basic blood groups. But that’s a major oversimplification, because each of the eight types of blood can be subdivided into many distinct varieties.

In fact, there are millions of blood type varieties, each of which is classified according to the little markers called antigens that coat the surface of red blood cells.

One person’s blood can contain a long list of antigens – there are hundreds of antigens that fall into 33 recognised antigen systems, many of which can cause dangerous reactions if a unit of incompatible blood is given to a patient during transfusion.

Clearly, it’s important that patients don’t receive antigens that their own blood lacks, otherwise their immune system may recognise the blood as foreign and develop antibodies to attack it.

Which explains why medical professionals pay so much attention to blood types – especially if they plan to use transfusion medicine to help a patient.

It’s also the reason why much of the routine work of blood banks involves testing blood from both donors and recipients to ensure that every individual is given blood that is compatible and is as safe as possible.

Ideally, patients should receive their own blood or type-specific blood products to minimise the chance of a transfusion reaction – the effects of which can range from a mile pain to fever, shock, and in the worst cases, death.

With so many possible blood types to consider, blood typing to check what blood group is a vital activity.

For more information how on how Lorne Labs can help with classifying your Blood Group contact us today. Lorne Labs is the only independent firm in England to have consistently sought to provide a total solution for Blood Transfusion professionals in the world. We supply high quality blood grouping reagents including a range or rare grouping sera, as well as Red Cells and Diagnostic Kits that are compliant with all UK and European guidelines.


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