Medical Perspectives | Others

January 28, 2020



Every two seconds, someone in the world is in need of blood, be it for surgery, cancer treatment or traumatic injury. Blood transfusions rely on blood donations to supply the demand.

 

The need is constant and the need for blood donors continues to grow, as more than 2,000 blood units are used and needed in transfusions daily in the Philippines alone.[1] According to the Department of Health, in 2016, 920,000 blood units were collected by blood centers nationwide.[2]

 

While blood donations are most welcome, there are precise rules on blood compatibility, as the interaction of incompatible types of blood could lead to extreme or even fatal reactions. The type of blood is of much importance in relation to blood transfusions. There are 4 different blood groups [A, B, AB, O] and 8 different blood types [A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+, O-].[3]

 

Blood compatibility is also determined by the specific blood component needed, such as red blood cells, plasma or platelets, as each have different functions. Red blood cells help in the circulation of oxygen in the body. Platelets aids in blood clotting, and are used in the treatement of leukemia and other types of cancer.[4]

 

There are some general rules on blood compatibility which we list here as a guide as published by known advocates for blood donation.

From the Red Cross[5], we know that

  • Type O negative red cells can be given to patients of all blood types. 
  • Type AB positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all blood types. 

From the John Hopkins Medicine site[6], we know that

  • Donor blood Type O, also known as the universal donor, can be received by all blood types
  • Donor blood Type A can be given to recipient blood Types A and AB
  • Donor blood Type B can be given to recipient blood Types B and AB
  • Donor blood Type AB can only be given to recipient blood Type AB

 

 

[1] Francisco, K. [2017, September]. Blood needed: With PH blood supply below target, patients seek help online. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/180446-blood-donation-online-networks-philippine-red-cross

 

[2] Francisco, K. [2017, September]. Blood needed: With PH blood supply below target, patients seek help online. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/180446-blood-donation-online-networks-philippine-red-cross

 

[3] Bloodbook.com. [n.d.]. Blood Facts. Retrieved from http://www.bloodbook.com/facts.html

 

[4] American Red Cross. [n.d.] Blood Components. Retrieved from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/types-of-blood-donations/blood-components.html

 

[5] American Red Cross. [n.d.] Blood Needs & Blood Supply. Retrieved from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/how-blood-donations-help/blood-needs-blood-supply.html

 

[6] John Hopkins Medicine. [n.d.] Blood Compatibility. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/transplant/programs/kidney/incompatible/blood.html

 

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