What does blood group O positive mean?

Kell system in blood grouping

The right donation for every patient: People have individual blood patterns that are determined by the red blood cells (erythrocytes). These patterns are also called blood types. The blood group of the donor and recipient plays a crucial role in blood transfusions. There are different blood group systems for classifying blood groups. After the best known, the AB0 and the Rhesus system, the Kell system is the third most important blood group system.

Kell system as the third most important blood group system

The Kell system was named after a patient named Kelleher. The attending physician was Sir Robin Coombs. In 1941 he discovered an incompatibility between the blood type of his patient and her daughter.

Blood donations are divided into blood groups, because if the most important characteristics of the donor and recipient blood do not match, the transfusion can lead to life-threatening complications. The Antigens of the individual blood groups would often result in a severe reaction if not in the recipient's blood itself. You are probably familiar with the AB0 blood group system and the Rhesus system - but there are 34 other blood group systems. The third most important blood type system is the Kell system, too Kell-Cellano system called. In Germany, it supplements testing for AB0 and Rh factor.

Kell negative and Kell positive

The Kell system is in the genotype Kell negative (kk) and the two Kell positive Genotypes (Kk and KK) assigned. The blood group distribution is quite one-sided: More than 90 percent of people are Kell negative. As donation recipients, these people are only allowed to receive Kell-negative blood for a safe blood transfusion. Kell-positive patients, on the other hand, can receive both Kell-positive and Kell-negative blood preparations.

Kell: Antigens and Antibodies

Human blood not only contains our genes, but also antigens. Most of these occur in the form of proteins on the surface of the red blood cells. Your immune system makes antibodies against such antigens. Each antibody usually only matches one specific antigen. These antibodies against blood group characteristics must be considered before blood donation, as contact with positive blood can lead to dangerous clumping.

Kell system and pregnancy

The Kell system plays an important role, especially during pregnancy: The effect of a Kell incompatibility between mother (Kell factor negative with antibodies) and child (Kell positive) can, in severe cases, lead to illnesses in the child such as a Anemia in the unborn child. Therefore, the compatibility of the most important blood group characteristics in a blood transfusion is particularly important for young women.

Conclusion: carry your blood donor ID with you

So every person has a very specific blood pattern, which is determined by the red blood cells (erythrocytes) and also blood type called. The own blood group depends on the parents, as this is passed on to the child according to the Mendelian rules of blood group inheritance. This blood sample decides the question: Who can donate blood to whom based on their individual blood components? In our magazine article on the subject of blood group compatibility, you can find out which blood groups of the donor and recipient match. For the transfer of blood between two people, determining the blood group can be of vital importance. Therefore, carry your blood donation card with you whenever possible - in the event of accidents and under time pressure, rapid information can be vital.

If you have any questions on this topic or are unsure whether you can donate blood, ours is available to you free hotline 0800 11 949 11 to disposal.

We look forward to welcoming you to one of our blood donation appointments!

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