What would happen if a person receives a blood transfusion using a blood type other than their own?

That depends on what type of blood was given and the recipient’s blood type.

There are three major antigens (things on outside of blood cells that cause allergic reactions). The antigens are A, B, & O. There are two copies. The combos are OO, AO, BO, and AB. They are referred to as O, A, B, & AB for the sake of simplicity.

Type O is tolerated by everyone…. Type O blood is “universal donor” and prized. Type A blood is tolerated by A and AB recipients. Type B is tolerated by B and AB recipents. Type AB blood is only tolerated by AB recipients… AB types are “universal recipients.”

So what happens depends on chance:

  1. If a person with AB gets anything different, it does not matter.
  2. If a person with O gets anything different, that’s likely a huge problem called a major hemolytic transfusion reaction.

In a major hemolytic transfusion reaction, the recipient’s immune system vigorously attracts the donated blood. The cells are ripped apart, tons of bad chemicals are released, and the person gets super sick. The kidneys can fail… first reddish urine then shutdown. The person can develop a severe flu like illness. They can go into shock and ultimately die. Mortality is high without treatment and considerable even with it.

This is why a mix up is a potentially tragic error.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

What is your opinion about that? Share it with us in the comments below, please!

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
David Gardner
I can go one better than that. I was A pos, now I'm O pos after a bone marrow transplant.
Aug 8, 2018 7:01PM
Robin Delaney
Having worked in Blood Bank for many years I can confirm that the information is not totally accurate. The answers provided are only accurate if the patient has NOT been previously transfused, except for the basic ABO incompatibility. You must remain within type for A,B and O for a blood transfusion. If there have been no previous pregnancies (live birth or not) or transfusions, Rh does not necessarily matter. To transfuse out of Rh type requires a clinical pathologist's okay. This is a subject that can confuse RNs and MDs.
Nov 12, 2018 7:28AM
Linda Evers
My son is AB-. He was told when he first gave blood that he had one of the rarest types. He's given over 50 pints so far.
Dec 19, 2018 6:14PM
And I'm the most positive.....B+
Apr 15, 2020 10:07PM
Gayle Bennett, I am also AB+. We have universal plasma, so we are prime candidates for Apherisis where the plasma and platelets are separated and the other cells returned. It's a little longer procedure but you can donate more often. I just bring a book along.
Jan 18, 2020 7:18PM
I'm an A+, but one of my daughters has a different blood type from her father and when her son was born he had to have a transfusion. I don't know all the correct terms but he lived. He's in his 30's now.
Dec 12, 2019 5:23PM
Donavon Kidd
As far as I know I am an negative
Nov 22, 2019 5:40PM
Not totally true. You will develop an antibody with the first incompatibility. Fortunately, in current blood banking procedure, there is virtually no chance of an ABO incompatibility. There are also other antigens in blood to which people develop antibodies. The Rho factor is one of the best known and can occur between an Rh negative mom and an Rh positive infant. The administration of Rhogam during the pregnancy has minimized these reactions. The first pregnancy is usually uneventful, but each subsequent Rh positive child can result in more jaundice as the antibody titre increases.
Aug 1, 2019 6:38PM
Jimmy Conner, if I were to receive AB blood I'd get really sick I'm type O. O can donate to anyone. But AB can't .
May 10, 2019 5:33PM
Jimmy Conner
Don Toombs, Not really if you read it closely. Type AB can only be administered to type AB but type AB can be administered all types.
May 5, 2019 4:51PM
Bong Refuerzo
Now I Know...
Apr 17, 2019 10:20AM
Gayl Board-Rein
Gayle Bennett, I'm AB- and they always want me to give blood.
Mar 13, 2019 10:00PM
Barb Neal
thats why o is given if the blood type isnt known. im o and used to be a blood donor but since my melanoma 40 odd years ago they say i cant
Mar 4, 2019 2:56AM
Gayle Bennett
I think blood type info and discussion is very interesting. I am AB+ and gave up donating as my blood type is not needed as I am a universal recipient
Feb 25, 2019 8:59AM
Very Informative
Feb 16, 2019 6:05PM
Hazel Freeman
I believe it should say, vigorously ATTACKS the donated blood.
Jan 30, 2019 9:05PM
Don Toombs
This story is contradictory when talking about type AB. Maybe on others, too. The writer needs to proof-read his story and make up his mind.
Jan 27, 2019 4:25PM
Natalia Lipkovich
My husband has 0-.
Jan 19, 2019 1:45PM

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