NHS Blood and Transplant have shared details of their initiative to extensively test the blood groups of people with Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassaemia who may have had, or could need, blood transfusions. By examining the more detailed aspects of blood grouping, they hope to better understand the level of matching that is needed for patients when they receive blood products.
Testing is underway in hospitals throughout England and is being offered at no additional cost to hospitals until the end of June this year. More information can be found at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/extendedbloodgrouptesting and this includes a link to an information sheet for patients that includes some Frequently Asked Questions about the testing.
The press release for this news can also be found at http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/news-and-media/news-articles/news_2016_01_22.asp
The NHSBT explain:
We are offering to ‘genotype’ blood groups for patients with blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassaemia, to have access to extended blood type information.
For patients with haemoglobin disorders, who may need numerous transfusions during their lifetime and who may move between hospitals, genotyping could enable safer blood transfusions.
This work will also enable the creation of a database of genotyped blood details for patients in England with these disorders.
Consultant Haematologist, Dr Sara Trompeter, said “Patients taking part can now potentially receive more finely matched blood if we know not just their blood group, but whether they have a variant Rh type.
“And there will also be greater safety and likelihood of getting matched blood in an emergency, as their records will be held centrally and can be accessed by blood banks in local hospitals.
“We urge all patients with haemoglobin disorders such as, sickle cell disease or thalassaemia, to speak to their medical or nursing team about providing a blood sample to NHSBT via their local transfusion laboratories to be genotyped.”
We are offering this testing at no extra cost to hospitals until end of June 2016. More than 2,500 samples have been received so far, and it is hoped that many more samples, from the estimated 15,000 people affected by haemoglobin disorders, will be submitted before July.
The results are processed centrally at our International Blood Group Reference Laboratory and will be accessible to the teams who are involved in the future care of these patients.