Rare Blood

Has your blood ever been categorized as rare? Have you ever heard of rare blood? Yes? No?

Well listen up. Because rare blood is rare, it is crucial that everyone is aware of this term. There are more patients than you may think that require rare blood in order to survive, so please listen carefully.

Some patients’ blood has specific red cell antibodies that make finding a matched red cell unit a challenge. Simply put, when these patients need a transfusion, the basic A, B, O and Rh negative or positive designation are not enough. Additional layers of matching are required.

In order to supply blood to patients with these special needs, Indiana Blood Center’s laboratory identifies those people whose blood has special characteristics which may aid in supplying matched blood to patients with special needs. 

For a patient with red cell antibody to receive blood products, the blood must lack the matching antigen.

A good way to describe this is by using a lock and key example. The antibody is the key. The antigen is the lock. A red cell antigen is specific marker that may be found on the red cell portion of blood.

The frequency an antigen occurs in the general population indicates how rare a donor may be. 

If the antigen and antibody match, the patient may have a reaction to the blood. What we do is provide blood that does not have the matching antigen to prevent the patient from having a reaction to the transfusion of blood.

If you have been flagged as a rare donor at Indiana Blood Center, every time you donate, your red cells are delivered to the Reference Laboratory to be made available for these special patients. 

We encourage you to donate as often as possibleThe types of patients who generally receive rare red cell products are frequently transfused cancer patients and patients with sickle-cell anemia. These patients often need a blood transfusion, so it is critical to have rare blood available at all times. 

If the rarity of your red cell antigens meets the criteria, we may also register you as a rare donor with the national rare donor database, called the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP).

Indiana Blood Center thanks everyone who donates and asks those donors whose blood is classified as rare to think about those in desperate need of their rare blood in order to survive.

Make an appointment to donate blood today at DonorPoint.org and tomorrow… You’ll have someone’s undying gratitude.

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