Abbreviation for “Wrong Blood In Tube,” also known informally as the blood banker’s worst nightmare! In other words, the tube says this is patient A’s blood, but it actually contains blood from patient B. A 2006 article (AJCP 2006;126(3):422-426) stated this risk to be approximately 1 in 2000 specimens.

WBIT is a huge problem because all the safe testing protocols in the world may not protect a patient in that situation when the wrong blood is in a tube with their name on it. Blood banks always check previous records to make sure that the current ABO and Rh testing agrees with what was seen previously, so WBIT is usually discovered prior to transfusion in previous patients. The bigger problem is when WBIT occurs in patients who are transfused for the first time (obviously, there are no previous records to check in that scenario). As a result, AABB Standards (and good practice, in my view) requires transfusion services to get a second sample for confirmation of the ABO and Rh types prior to issuing blood to a patient being transfused for the first time in their facility.

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