Nursing Review Issue 3 May-June 2022 - Page 7

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Negative impact

New findings may change how blood transfusions are performed .
By Elise Hartevelt

A

decrease in negative blood types in Australia may change how emergency blood transfusions are performed in the future , experts have said .
In the first major blood group assessment done since the early ’ 90s , scientists from the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood analysed over 1.3 million samples to determine how the population ’ s blood types have changed .
They found that RhD + blood group donations had increased at the expense of RhD- blood group units .
Lead researcher Dr Rena Hirani said this may have implications for future blood supply .
“ It ’ s important for us to realise that Australia does have a very stable blood supply at the moment , but it will become increasingly challenging to collect negative blood , particularly O negative blood which is used in emergencies ,” Hirani said .
“ If more individuals are found to be positive , we could consider O + as an alternative blood group that could be used in emergencies .
“ Using blood group data , we can see how collecting specific blood types can be matched up with patient requirements .”
The study also found that RhD positive had increased along with increased proportions of B and AB individuals , suggesting a migrational contributor .
“ The fact that we found B and AB groups have increased , we know that from other studies that these groups are more prevalent in South East Asia , India , and China , along with most of the population in those countries being RhD positive ,” Hirani said .
“ It ’ s from these countries that we ’ ve seen most immigration into Australia in the last 10 years , so this blood group change has been reflected in our study to match what ’ s been happening in immigration .”
The onset of COVID-19 saw a dramatic reduction in blood donations worldwide , resulting in a decrease of 40 to 67 per cent .
“ We encourage everybody to talk about blood donation with their family so there ’ s more blood donation in general in Australia ,” Hirani said . ■

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