Requests for compatibility testing or blood grouping

Transfusion samples and forms must be clearly identified and clerical details match exactly. The form and sample should be signed by the person taking the sample as vouching for the identity of the potential recipient.

• 3 points of identification are required: patient's full name, date of birth, hospital number.

• Requests must be legible and clearly labelled with the name of the responsible clinician.

• Indication for transfusion should be specified.

• Indicate time for planned surgery.

• For major elective surgery where transfusion is usual with the procedure the laboratory should receive a G&S sample in advance (7 days)—allows identification of alloantibodies-the lab will arrange for appropriate blood units to be available.

• In genuine haemorrhagic emergencies ABO ± Rh (D) group compatible blood can be given without matching as the slight risk of this action far outweighs the immediate risk of death from exsanguination.

• Unmatched O Rh (D) -ve blood should only be used in extreme emergency when the patient's blood group is unknown or, if known, blood of the same ABO and Rh type is unavailable. Emergency grouping can be conducted in ~15 min; full laboratory compatibility testing can be completed in <1h. Can be ~20 min in emergencies (sending G&S sample to laboratory may save valuable time).

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