Blood group testing
Blood Service’s Blood Group Laboratory is open around the clock every day of the year. Hospitals can consult the laboratory staff in any problem situations related to blood transfusion at all hours of the day. The laboratory also serves as the national reference laboratory for pretransfusion testing.
The Blood Group Laboratory (24/7)
The blood group laboratory performs pretransfusion testing from samples sent by hospitals, health centres and private laboratories. Tests include
- blood grouping
- red cell antibody identification and
These tests are performed using serological methods as well as genotyping.
The purpose of pretransfusion testing is to ensure that the blood components to be transfused are suitable for the patient. Our experts interpret the test results in relation to the patient’s clinical status and give a written statement on the tests performed, which will provide guidance for blood selection.
National Reference Laboratory
The Blood Group Laboratory serves as the national reference laboratory for pretransfusion testing. Red cell antibodies are identified using red cell panels that, in addition to featuring the cells in accordance with international blood group requirements, include the rare blood groups typical among the Finnish population. Such cells are not available in commercial red cell panels. For the purposes of further testing, we have also several commercial cell panels in use.
Our laboratory maintains all the key commercial testing methods. We also perform blood group genotyping in accordance with international recommendations. In our laboratory, we have collected hundreds of rare reagents, that are used for most demanding antibody identifications.
If necessary, the investigation of most demanding cases is performed in collaboration with international reference laboratories. We usually send samples for analysis to the following European laboratories:
IBGRL Red Cell Reference laboratory, Bristol, UK
The National Immunohematology Reference Laboratory, Paris, France
The Nordic Reference Laboratory for Genetic Blood Group Analysis, Lund, Sweden
Rare blood groups
In addition to the ABO characteristics, there are many other blood group factors with varying frequencies. A blood group is classified as rare if it occurs in the population approximately less than 1:1,000 people.
Rare blood groups are revealed in blood group testing of patients and blood donors. Individuals with rare blood groups can also be searched for on the basis of ethnic background or genealogy.
If suitable blood product cannot be found for a patient in the Blood Service inventory, the suitable blood donors are called in. Red cells of rare blood groups have also been frozen for long-term and can be thawed when need arises. If the rare blood type cannot be found in Finland, enquiries of availability will be made to international blood banks.