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Group O low titre only emergency donor panels for small combat teams

Abstract

Introduction Military elements increasingly operate in small teams in remote areas with no immediate blood product support. Planners and operators may endorse collection of fresh whole blood from pretested donors in emergency situations. The biggest risk of transfusion is the accidental use of ABO incompatible blood which can be fatal. The risk may be mitigated by using only group O LOw (OLO) titre donors with plasma containing low levels of the naturally occurring antibody to group A and B red cells. This paper reviews the ABO blood group distribution in potential blood donors from a high readiness UK medical regiment and explores the feasibility of using only group OLO donors in small teams.

Methods A retrospective review of routine volunteer blood donor samples was undertaken at 6 monthly intervals during a 2-year period. Personnel were tested in groups when available during training to create multiple donor panels to simulate small teams.

Results 206 donation samples were collected from 157 potential donors. All donors were acceptable based on the lifestyle questionnaire, serology and microbiology screen. Of the 206 samples reviewed, 85 (41%) were group O (D pos and D neg). 14 group O (16.5%) were shown to have high titre of anti-A or B. Therefore, 71, that is, 34% overall were suitable as OLO donors. The donor panel size varied from 15 to 44. The absolute number of OLO donors in each panel ranged from 4 to 17 and the number of O neg donors was 0–3.

Conclusion A third of samples were suitable as OLO donors; however, there were insufficient ‘universal’ donors within smaller subgroups (<10). In this situation, we recommend the careful use of both group O and group A donors or the use of a buddy-buddy blood group matrix.

  • military medicine
  • emergency donor panels

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