ABO Incompatibility Reaction

About ABO incompatibility reaction

ABO is a way of abbreviating the different four basic blood groups based on the presence or absence of an antigen in the red blood cells. These blood groups are A, AB, B, and O based on the different antigens located on the red blood cells. When you are sick for instance or you have just lost massive blood from delivery (as a pregnant woman) or due to an accident or injury, and you need a blood transfusion to save your life, an incompatibility reaction will occur if the blood you are receiving has a different antigen (s) as yours. It is called antigen mismatch. This reaction is called ABO incompatibility reaction. This can be life-threatening.

This is what happens in ABO incompatibility reaction. The immune system manufactures antibodies not present in the recipient’s blood. The antibodies fight these strange antigens so as to eliminate it. Although this reaction seems to be protective in reality, the immune system does not know it is actually destructive to the recipient’s life. In the process, the red blood cells are destroyed.

The only person that will always escape this reaction is an AB recipient. He can receive blood from anyone in the four different blood groups.


ABO incompatibility reaction

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Causes of ABO incompatibility reaction

It is chiefly human-caused – wrong blood sample labeling forms not well documented, donor blood check in comparison with the recipients.


Symptoms of ABO incompatibility reaction

If within a few minutes after the blood transfusion begins, you began experiencing the following, an ABO incompatibility reaction is present. They are breathing difficulties, yellow coloration of the skin or eyes (jaundice), back pains, blood-stained urine,


Diagnosis for ABO incompatibility reaction

Once a reaction has been suspected by the medical team involved, the transfusion will be stopped immediately and an investigation will begin. Your blood sample will be obtained to test whether there is a damage to the red blood cells. That is the hallmark of knowing when there is a reaction. If there is red blood cells damage, a protein called hemoglobin will be present in your urine. Your breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature will be equally monitored.


Treatments for ABO incompatibility reaction

You will probably be taken to the intensive care unit.

The aim of the treatment will be to ensure as much as possible that you do not develop kidney failure, low blood pressure or excessive clotting of your blood.

You will be given intravenous fluid, platelet, and plasma transmission to help build your blood volume and check excessive blood clotting. Your urine output will have to be increased so you can get rid of excessive blood products resulting from red blood cells damage. A drug will be given to you to achieve this.


Prevention of ABO incompatibility reaction

This is largely in the hands of the medical personnel involved in the blood transfusion process. If the blood samples are properly labeled, if the blood groups of the two people involved – donor and recipient – are carefully detailed and compared before the actual transfusion, ABO compatibility reaction will be way impossible.


Long-term outlook

Any of the following can result from an ABO incompatibility reaction;

  • Kidney failure due to products of red blood cells damage
  • Liver failure
  • Stroke
  • Blood clotting
  • Uncontrollable and excessive internal bleeding due to loss of clotting factors in the blood.
  • Chronic anemia

Either of these can be promptly attended to before they grow into complications that are life-threatening.