ABO Discrepancy

A generic term for a variety of situations in which the lab cannot confirm a person’s ABO type, because the testing pattern is inconsistent. Let me explain: ABO testing is a two-part process, involving testing a person’s red cells for the presence of A and or B antigens (this is known as “red cell grouping” or more commonly, “forward grouping” or “front-typing“) and also testing the same person’s serum for the presence of anti-A and anti-B antibodies (this is known as “serum grouping” or more commonly, “reverse grouping” or “back typing“). If the results of these two parts of the tests do not agree (for example, if the cell grouping suggests blood group A while the serum grouping looks more like blood group AB), an ABO discrepancy has occurred. ABO discrepancies happen for a wide variety of reasons, including technical errors, problems with red cell antigens, or problems with serum antibodies.

For MUCH more on ABO discrepancies, including sample problems and how to solve them, check out episode 054 of the Blood Bank Guy Essentials Podcast.

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