Blood transfusion is an effective therapeutic approach for several hematological conditions including sickle cell disease (SCD), thalassaemia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. It is also often indicated for transplantation and for patients receiving medical treatments for cancer. However, transfusion treatment can lead to the red blood cell (RBC) alloimmunization when an incompatible antigen is inadvertently present in the transfused blood. Alloantibodies can cause RBC destruction and many other complications defeating the purpose of the treatment. The risk of development of multiple alloantibodies increases with the frequency of transfusions in transfusion-dependent patients and can be mitigated by transfusing blood type negative for multiple antigens to prevent hemolysis. This chapter discusses the transfusion’s risk of RBC alloimmunization as an adverse event; consequences of alloimmunization in patients’ care; approaches to prevent and/or mitigate alloimmunization and enhance transfusion efficacy; application of RBC genotyping to supplement serology for preventing alloimmunization. The currently available techniques for RBC genotyping and the importance of reference reagents for determining the genotyping accuracy will also be discussed.
Part of the book: Human Blood Group Systems and Haemoglobinopathies