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14 October update on NHSBT's state of readiness for EU exit

Read our update

Atypical antibodies and blood grouping

The Red Cell Immunohaematology laboratories provide a comprehensive reference service for the investigation of grouping and antibody problems. This service is supported by the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL).

Atypical red cell antibodies: serological and crossmatching problems

Samples referred for the investigation of atypical antibodies will be tested both to confirm the specificity of the antibodies and to exclude the presence of additional alloantibodies.  RCI reference laboratories have access to a large number of phenotyped red cells in addition to routine antibody identification panels to enable a full investigation to be completed.  The patient’s Rh and K phenotype will be performed on the first sample received from that patient, plus testing for any other implicated antigens.  Clinical advice on further transfusion support is given as appropriate.  Results are entered on the NHSBT national patient database and an antibody card will be issued for patients with irregular antibodies.

Patients who may require long term transfusion support are phenotyped for all the major blood group antigens. Patients who have received recent multiple transfusions may be genotyped for the same antigens by RCI.

Provision of cross-matched units in difficult cases

Where the provision of crossmatched units is problematic, the RCI laboratory can undertake the crossmatch.  Please make the request for crossmatched units clear on the request form and / or discuss with your laboratory.