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Blood transfusion safety: The importance of matching blood groups and rhesus compatibility

Blood transfusion is a medical procedure that involves transferring blood from one person (the donor) to another person (the recipient) to replace lost blood due to injury, surgery, or disease. Blood transfusion can be a life-saving procedure, but it can also be dangerous if not carried out correctly. One critical aspect of blood transfusion safety is matching blood groups and Rhesus compatibility. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of blood group and Rhesus compatibility in blood transfusion.

Sickle Cell Anemia Red cells in Blood Stream

What are ‘Blood Group’ and ‘Rhesus Factor’?

Blood group is a classification of blood based on the presence or absence of certain proteins on the surface of red blood cells. The most common blood groups are A, B, AB, and O. Rhesus factor, which is a protein that is present or absent in the blood. If the protein is present, the person is Rh-positive, and if it is absent, the person is Rh-negative.

Why is Blood Group and Rhesus Compatibility Important in Transfusion?

Blood group and Rhesus compatibility are critical in blood transfusion because transfusing the wrong blood group or Rhesus factor can cause a severe reaction that can be life-threatening. When a person receives blood that does not match their blood group or Rhesus factor, their immune system can react by producing antibodies that attack the foreign blood cells, leading to agglutination or clumping of red blood cells and other adverse reactions.

For example, suppose a person with blood group A receives blood from a person with blood group B, the antibodies in the recipient’s blood will recognize the foreign B antigen as a threat and attack the red blood cells, leading to clumping and blockage of blood vessels. This reaction is known as a transfusion reaction and can result in fever, chills, hives, shock, kidney failure, and even death.

Blood Group and Rhesus Compatibility Chart

To ensure transfusion safety, blood banks and hospitals use a blood group and Rhesus compatibility chart to determine the appropriate blood type for the recipient. The chart indicates which blood groups are compatible and which are not.

For example, people with blood group O are universal donors as their blood does not contain any A or B  antigens, while people with blood group AB are universal recipients as their blood contains both A and B antigens. Rhesus compatibility is also essential. Rh-negative individuals should only receive Rh-negative blood, while Rh-positive individuals can receive either Rh-positive or Rh-negative blood.

In conclusion, blood transfusion is a critical medical procedure that can save lives, but it can also be dangerous if not carried out correctly. Matching blood groups and Rhesus compatibility is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of blood transfusion. If you need a blood transfusion, ensure that your blood group and Rhesus factor are accurately determined before receiving the transfusion.

 If you are unsure of your blood group or Rhesus factor, you can book a test with us today; simply call 016291000, 016290998 for quick and smooth bookings.