All There Is To Know About The Universal Donor Blood
Our immune system protects us against invaders and foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses. The ability to detect mismatched blood in the system can turn this immune system into a defensive mode. It can endanger the life of the patient.
What is a blood group?
Merriam & Webster define blood group as the classes into which individuals or their blood can be categorized depending on the presence or absence of specific antigens in the blood. Antigens are essentially molecules. These are antigenic substances like proteins and carbohydrates on the surface of the red blood cells.
In the first decade of the 1900s, Australian physician Karl Landsteiner classified human blood. There are four designated blood groups, namely A, B, AB, O. Each blood type is classified based on the genes one inherits from their parent.
Inner Workings of Blood Transfusion
In layman’s terms, blood transfusion is the process whereby a volume of previously taken from or donated by a healthy person is injected into the system of someone ill. It is the procedure that helps restore or some of its components in a body.
In this day and age, transfusion is an integral part of the health care system. Its ability to improve health and save lives makes it a country’s primary health-related concern. For this process to work, donor is mixed with the recipient sample externally to detect fatal reactions. Once the compatibility is established, the donated is injected using an intravenous (IV) line.
What is meant by universal donor blood?
According to World Health Organization, 118.5 million blood donations are collected globally. For a reliable supply of safe , these donations need to be screened for infections and categorized before use. Every year, healthcare facilities need hundreds of thousand units of , platelets, and plasma. However, the O group presides over all the others.
For patients with rare types, obtaining compatibility within a short period can be quite a challenge. In such cases, O negative donors come to the rescue. They are universal . The high level of compatibility with all other types undoubtedly makes it the universal type. During emergencies when the patient’s type is unknown, healthcare professions often turn to O negative. Air ambulances and emergency vehicles often tend to carry O negative blood. Its ability to transfuse and bond with other blood types certainly makes it the primary choice for trauma patients and premature babies.
A Fair Share of Limitations
Even though the universal donor group can save hundreds of lives, it does come with its own set of challenges.
- Though O negative is a universal donor, it is not a universal receiver. Therefore, when someone with O negative undergoes treatment, they must receive an O negative transfusion.
- The use of O negative as a primary resort in most cases often leads to its shortage in comparison to other groups.
- Blood type O often has a higher risk of bacterial and viral infections. Moreover, people with O type have medical conditions like ulcers compared to A, B, and AB .
- The universal donor group can save countless lives but often fail to protect one from inflammations caused by dairy products and wheat.
- Rhesus (Rh) factor refers to an inherited protein found on the surface of red cells. However, an O negative (Rh-negative) pregnant woman with an O positive (Rh-positive) fetus might experience incompatibility and require urgent medical attention.