A more common hazard is infusion of wrong blood with potentially fatal consequences of ABO incompatibility. Transfusion of wrong blood is usually due to an error in blood sampling for compatibility testing or in identifying the correct unit or patient for transfusion; less frequently, incorrect testing within the laboratory is the cause.
Such errors have occurred in the intensive care unit setting ( Baeje,etal 1994). When these errors occur, they should be discussed with transfusion staff as advice can be given on patient management; treatment of intravascular hemolysis may be required, depending on the nature of the ABO incompatibility. If RhD-positive blood is given to an RhD-negative recipient, exchange transfusion may be appropriate, depending on the age, gender, and underlying condition of the patient. Secondly, the exact incidence of errors is not accurately defined, as reporting has been erratic. A central registry for confidential reporting of such errors in the United Kingdom is now established.
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