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Blood Bank

What is a Blood Bank? 

Blood Bank, also known as Transfusion Medicine or Immunohematology, is a division of CLS where laboratorians test the antigens on a patient's red blood cells and the antibodies in the serum in order to find a matching donor blood for transfusion. 

This is a very important and meticulous branch of study. Laboratorians are responsible for identifying antigens and antibodies in the patient's & donors blood to find a compatible match to prevent transfusion reaction. 

Transfusion reactions can range from mild hives and shortness of breath to blood hemolysis and death. Transfusion of incompatible donor units can spell direct disaster to a patient especially since many transfusions are needed for emergency trauma cases like car accidents or surgeries. 

So there is a lot of pressure & responsibility on a laboratorian.

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ABO Blood Types
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The four ABO blood types are probably the blood group you heard of before, especially if you ever donated blood at a blood drive. Each ABO blood type designates what antigens are present on a patient's & donor's red blood cells. 

Knowing what antigens are present can help laboratorians know what antibodies are present as well since antigen/antibody interactions can lead to agglutination and hemolysis, leading to a transfusion reaction.

BUT DID YOU KNOW that there are other blood groups that laboratorians have to test for?

Some blood groups tested on Antibody Panels include:

  • Rhesus

  • Kell 

  • MNS 

  • Lutheran 

  • Lewis

  • Duffy 

  • Kidd

  • etc.

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Responsibilities of Blood Bank Laboratorian for Transfusion

  • Quality Control & Assurance of Reagents

  • Rh typing 

    • Weak D testing for infants (Rh incompatibility with mother)

  • Antigen Identification

  • Antibody Screen

  • Antibody Identification

  • Compatibility testing

  • Transport & storage of blood units & other blood components

  • ​etc.​

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Other Types of Transfusions & Donations

There are more than 1 type of "blood transfusion" depending on the blood component being transfused. Each component has their own uses for treating the patient and has their own testing for compatibility.

These blood components include:

  • Whole Blood- includes all blood components

  • Platelet 

  • Plasma

  • Red blood cells (only)

  • Combination


Click Here to learn more about transfusion types

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