Please avoid blanket requesting of K- for stock orders of all ABO groups

and help us to ensure the stability of the supply chain

22 December 2022

Requesting K- for all red cell stock orders results in uneven distribution of K+ units to other hospitals, and can also lead to increased NHSBT wastage, as older units are left on the shelf.

As only 9% of Caucasians are positive for the K antigen (K+) the majority of donor red cells are negative for the K antigen (K-). And while it is important that certain patients are offered only K- red cells (to avoid sensitisation, reactions, and to reduce the risk for the development of haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn), K+ red cells can be safely transfused in various other settings. 

For guidance on the safe transfusion of K+ and K- red cells please refer to section 4 of the National Blood Transfusion Committee's appropriate use of group O D negative red cells, this guidance applies to all ABO groups.

Jo Skingley - Regional Hospital Customer Service Manager