Learn About ABO Incompatibility

What is the definition of ABO Incompatibility?

A, B, AB, and O are the 4 major blood types. The types are based on small substances (molecules) on the surface of the blood cells.

When people who have one blood type receive blood from someone with a different blood type, it may cause their immune system to react. This is called ABO incompatibility.

Due to modern testing techniques, this problem is very rare.

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What are the alternative names for ABO Incompatibility?

Transfusion reaction - hemolytic; Acute hemolytic transfusion reaction; AHTR; Blood incompatibility - ABO

What are the causes of ABO Incompatibility?

The different blood types are:

  • Type A
  • Type B
  • Type AB
  • Type O

People who have one blood type may form proteins (antibodies) that cause their immune system to react against one or more of the other blood types.

Being exposed to another type of blood can cause a reaction. This is important when someone needs to receive blood (transfusion) or have an organ transplant. The blood types must be compatible to avoid an ABO incompatibility reaction.

For example:

  • People with type A blood will react against type B or type AB blood.
  • People with type B blood will react against type A or type AB blood.
  • People with type O blood will react against type A, type B, or type AB blood.
  • People with type AB blood will not react against type A, type B, type AB, or type O blood.

Type O blood does not cause an immune response when it is given to people with type A, type B, or type AB blood. This is why type O blood cells can be given to people of any blood type. People with type O blood are called universal donors. But people with type O can only receive type O blood.

Both blood and plasma transfusions must be matched to avoid an immune reaction. Before anyone receives blood, both the blood and the person receiving it are tested carefully to avoid a reaction. Usually, a reaction occurs because of a clerical error causing someone to receive incompatible blood.

What are the symptoms of ABO Incompatibility?

The following are symptoms of ABO incompatible transfusion reactions:

  • Low back pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Chills
  • Feeling of "impending doom"
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pain at infusion site
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Bronchospasm (spasm of the muscles lining the lung; causes cough)
  • Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
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What are the current treatments for ABO Incompatibility?

In case of any reaction, transfusion should be stopped immediately. Treatment may also include:

  • Medicines used to treat allergic reactions (antihistamines)
  • Medicines used to treat swelling and allergies (steroids)
  • Fluids given through a vein (intravenously)
  • Medicines to raise blood pressure if it drops too low
Who are the top ABO Incompatibility Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
8
conditions

Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital

Nagoya, JP 46686

Yoshihiko Watarai is in Nagoya, Japan. Watarai is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of ABO Incompatibility. He is also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Kidney Transplant, ABO Incompatibility, Hyperparathyroidism, and Cytomegalovirus Infection.

Elite
Highly rated in
7
conditions

Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital

Nagoya, JP 46686

Shunji Narumi is in Nagoya, Japan. Narumi is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of ABO Incompatibility. They are also highly rated in 7 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are ABO Incompatibility, Kidney Transplant, Chronic Antibody-Mediated Rejection, and Hyperparathyroidism.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
10
conditions

Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital

Nagoya, JP 46686

Norihiko Goto is in Nagoya, Japan. Goto is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of ABO Incompatibility. They are also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are ABO Incompatibility, Kidney Transplant, Parathyroid Hyperplasia, and Hyperparathyroidism.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for ABO Incompatibility?

ABO incompatibility can be a very serious problem that can result in death. With the right and timely treatment, a full recovery is expected.

What are the possible complications of ABO Incompatibility?

Complications that may result include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Low blood pressure needing intensive care
  • Death
When should I contact a medical professional for ABO Incompatibility?

Contact your provider if you have recently had a blood transfusion or transplant and you have symptoms of ABO incompatibility.

How do I prevent ABO Incompatibility?

Careful testing of donor and recipient blood types before transfusion or transplant can prevent this problem.

Jaundiced infant
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What are the latest ABO Incompatibility Clinical Trials?
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What are the Latest Advances for ABO Incompatibility?
Statistical model for prediction of ABO hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn in India.
B subgroup detection in a small hospital transfusion service.
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Impact of ABO incompatibility on outcomes after haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for severe aplastic anemia.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : May 27, 2020
Published By : Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Kaide CG, Thompson LR. Transfusion therapy: blood and blood products. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 28.

Manis JP. Blood components, blood donor screening, and transfusion reactions. In: Rifai N, ed. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2018:chap 81.

Nester T. Blood component therapy and transfusion reactions. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2020. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:394-400.