You must know that a single blood type cannot be transfused to all patients. Patients have different blood groups; blood can only be given by compatible donors. But how will you know about the compatibility of blood types? Which blood groups are compatible? What will happen if an incompatible blood transfusion occurs? Here we will learn all about these queries, so keep reading.
In blood compatibility, we ensure the blood transfused to a patient matches the patient's blood group. There are four major blood groups, including A, B, AB, and O blood groups. These blood groups are further categorized as positive negative blood groups. Now, eight different variations of blood groups can exist among patients.
You must have heard of many cases when blood is needed to be transfused in patients. It mostly happens during surgeries (accidental surgery, cesarean section, or other surgical incisions). During these conditions, there is always a need for the donor whose blood group must be compatible with the patient.
Blood compatibility tests are performed before blood transfusions. Transfusions are impossible if the donor's blood group is incompatible with the patient's. In this condition, there is a need for another donor with the required blood group.
Let’s categorize the blood groups according to their compatibilities.
A+ blood group: It contains type A antigens and a positive Rh factor. Patients with the A+ blood group can receive blood groups of A+, A-, O+, and O-. These compatibilities are because of the following reasons:
A- blood group: It contains type A antigens and is free of positive Rh factor. Patients with the A- blood group can receive groups of A-and O-. These compatibilities are because of the following reasons:
A+ is not compatible because exposure to a positive blood group in a negative blood group patient will develop the formation of Rh antibodies. This condition is also known as Rh incompatibility or Rh disease. The same goes for the O+ blood group; the Rh factor makes it incompatible with the A- patient.
B+ blood group: It contains type B antigens and a positive Rh factor. Patients with the B+ blood group can receive blood groups of B+, B-, O+, and O-. These compatibilities are because of the following reasons:
B- blood group: It contains type B antigens and is free of positive Rh factor. Patients with the B- blood group can receive B- and O- groups. These compatibilities are because of the following reasons:
The rest of the blood groups are not compatible because of the reasons we discussed above.
AB+ blood group: This group contains both type A and type B antigens and a positive Rh factor. AB+ blood group patients can receive blood from any blood group in the blood group system. It is because AB+ blood is free of type A and B antibodies. Also, there is no production of RH antibodies in this type of blood. Due to this reason, the AB+ blood group is also called a universal recipient.
AB- blood group: This group contains type A and type B antigens without a positive Rh factor. AB-blood group patients can receive blood from any negative blood group, including AB-, A-, B-, and O-. Transfusion of the positive blood group will produce RH antibodies in the patient’s body, further resulting in hemolysis.
O+ blood group: This group contains positive Rh factor but is free of type A and type B antigens. Patients with this blood group can receive blood from the donor of either O+ or O-. The other blood groups are incompatible because of type A and type B antibodies in O+ patients.
O- blood group: This group is free of type A, B, and Rh antigens. Patients with this blood group can receive blood from O- donors. The rest of the blood groups are incompatible because of type A, B, and Rh antibodies in O- patients. O- blood group can be transfused to any patient; therefore, it is also known as a universal donor.
Incompatible blood transfusion leads to a hemolytic reaction in the patient's body. Incompatible blood groups trigger the immune system and lead to the formation of antibodies against transfused blood. These antibodies then start destroying the donor’s blood cells. This condition can lead to fever, backache, tremors, and other severe side effects.
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Now, you must have a complete understanding of ABO blood system compatibility. Every person must be aware of his/her blood group to ensure a compatible blood transfusion in emergencies. And remember, the real heroes are the donors with O- blood groups because they can donate blood to every patient and save their lives.