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Advances in Immunohematology – Helping Patients with Rare Blood Types

Posted on Mar 12, 2019 by Colleen Holtkamp


Immunohematology is the study of red blood cell antigens and antibodies associated with blood transfusions. It focuses on finding compatible blood components as well as identifying causes of incompatibility between donor and patient blood. The field of immunohematology helps ensure the best clinical outcomes for patients when they receive blood transfusions. It is especially important for patients who must receive repeated transfusions, as these individuals tend to become more susceptible to reactions.

Due to advances in genetic testing, the field of immunohematology has been moving toward red cell genotyping. Also known as molecular immunohematology, this approach addresses gaps in the capabilities of traditional serologic testing. This means that patients that could not be transfused in the past can now receive life-saving blood component therapy. AABB News recently published an article called “Immunohematology: Helping Patients Get the Optimal Blood.” It discusses the evolution of red cell genotyping technologies and the promise of next generation sequencing (NGS), which reveals even more information about blood types than methods currently used.

These advances in genotyping are helping patients with rare blood types. Thousands of blood donors have now been genotyped, creating databases that blood centers can turn to when blood must be found for a patient with special transfusion needs. The ability to identify donors with rare blood types also means that blood centers can make the effort to retain them and to recruit donors with similar characteristics.

Helmer Scientific supports blood centers and hospitals, the patients they serve, and their efforts to keep the blood supply safe. We have offered high quality blood storage equipment for 40 years and are here to help you properly store and monitor your blood products. Choosing the right solution for storing your rare red blood cells means that this precious resource will be safeguarded from adverse conditions.

Learn what to consider in an ultra-low freezer and rare blood accessories to ensure that you have a secure storage environment that minimizes handling risks. Download our Rare Blood Storage eBook to learn more.

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Colleen Holtkamp

Written by Colleen Holtkamp

Helmer designs, manufactures, and markets specialized medical and laboratory equipment to customers in more than 125 countries. With an extensive background in Helmer products, Colleen’s focus is on the Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank segments.

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