Philadelphia/ Science, Tech & Medicine
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 14, 2024
Rare Blood Type Patient Saved by Global Network of Donors and Healthcare CollaborationSource: User "montuno" on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a remarkable display of international cooperation, healthcare, and blood donation organizations united to meet the transfusion needs of a patient with an extraordinarily rare blood type. A patient requiring blood with anti-Ena, a high-prevalence antigen, found hope through the concerted efforts of a global network of blood banks and donor programs. The case underscores the necessity of DNA-based red blood cell antigen typing in identifying rare blood types, as well as the vital role of worldwide collaboration in addressing complex medical challenges.

According to the National Library of Medicine, over 200 blood samples from the patient's extended family in Qatar were tested, ultimately leading to the discovery of one compatible En(a-) individual. In their relentless quest to provide for the patient, the local hospital blood bank in the United States coordinated with the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) and, the International Society for Blood Transfusion's (ISBT) International Rare Donor Panel. Luckily, their efforts were not in vain, as a second En(a-) donor was identified in Canada.

The meticulous crossmatching against the plasma of the patient facilitated the selection of these rare donors. Given the high prevalence of the Ena antigen, the rarity of the En(a-) type presented significant challenges requiring intricate networking and widespread communication between various organizations. Studies such as "An alloantibody to a high-prevalence MNS antigen in a person with a GP.JL/Mk phenotype" published in Immunohematology in 2007 and "Clinical approach after identification of a rare anti-Ena in a prenatal sample," as per the National Library of Medicine, stress the clinical implications and importance of accurately identifying these uncommon blood type specificities.

International collaborations in the medical field are crucial, particularly when looking at the volume of work needed to locate rare blood donors. Nance SJ and Lomas-Francis C from the ISBT Working Party on Rare Donors examined global trends in "Where in the world are rare donors? A Working Party On Rare Donors Survey", as noted by the National Library of Medicine. Furthermore, the survey of the American Rare Donor Program, as summarized in an abstract for Transfusion in 2021, offers insight into the processes for identifying such donors and fulfilling rare blood requests across the United States.