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Blood Transfusion and Agglutination

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Blood Transfusion and Agglutination

Postby Infarious » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:53 am

I understand the ABO and Rhesus systems quite well but I don't understand why O is the universal donor if O contains anti-A and anti-B antibodies. Wouldn't it agglutinate A, B and AB type blood? Or is the agglutination negligible? Or are antibodies removed from blood destined for transfusion?
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Postby mith » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:43 am

O has neither, AB has both
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Postby biohazard » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:06 am

O lacks the A and B surface antigens, therefore the receiver's immune system does not destroy thehse blood cells. O blood does have A and B antibodies, but since the volume transfused is usually relatively small, the little amounts of antibody that are transfered to the recipient are not a big problem. However, as far as I have understood, in big operations or when there has been a massive loss of blood, matching type of blood is always the optimal choice, and only if it is not possible, O type is given.
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Re: Blood Transfusion and Agglutination

Postby Revenged » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:44 pm

Infarious wrote:I understand the ABO and Rhesus systems quite well but I don't understand why O is the universal donor if O contains anti-A and anti-B antibodies. Wouldn't it agglutinate A, B and AB type blood? Or is the agglutination negligible? Or are antibodies removed from blood destined for transfusion?


the anti-A and anti-B antibodies are found in plasma...

plasma is separated from red blood cells by centrifugation...

only the O red blood cells are transfused (not the plasma)...

in clinical practice you'd always match blood types as it is not possible to fully separate plasma and red blood cells...
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Postby Infarious » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:32 am

Thanks Biohazard and Revenged.
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Postby biohazard » Sun Nov 18, 2007 5:06 pm

Good you specified my answer a bit, Revenged.

It is indeed so that the antibodies are found in the plasma (and on the surface of B-cells in the form of a membrane-bound immunoglobulin), but since both are separated from the red blood cells, it is not a big problem. Tiny amounts of both plasma and white blood cells (including B lymphocytes) usually remain among the erythrocytes, but like I tried to say, the amount is so small that usually it causes no harm. Despite this, in big transfusions this can have an effect, if O blood is given to a non-O recipient.
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Postby mcar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:40 pm

Antibodies are needed to be removed.
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Postby biohazard » Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:58 pm

As far as I know, the antibodies remaining within the erythrocytes need not be removed, and I'm not even sure if there is an efficient / cost effective way of doing that. After all, virtually all antibodies are removed when the plasma is separated. Any antibody traces remaining with the red blood cells should not be a problem. At least during some smallish operation requiring a unit or two of red blood cells, whatever antibodies there are with them is not a problem. And like I said before, in bigger operations a matching type of blood is used if available.

Want to specify a bit what you meant with this 'need to be removed'? :)
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