Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES -

Ac­ci­dent and trauma vic­tims with type O blood – around 45 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion – may be at sig­nif­i­cantly higher risk of dy­ing than peo­ple with sim­i­lar in­juries who have less com­mon blood types, ac­cord­ing to new re­search car­ried out at Tokyo Med­i­cal and Den­tal Univer­sity Hospi­tal.

“Loss of blood is the lead­ing cause of death in pa­tients with se­vere trauma, but stud­ies on the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent blood types and the risk of trauma death have been scarce,” Said Dr Wataru Takayama, lead au­thor of the pa­per in the jour­nal Crit­i­cal Care. “We wanted to test the hy­poth­e­sis that trauma sur­vival is af­fected by dif­fer­ences in blood types.”

The team stud­ied the records of the 901 pa­tients treated for se­vere trauma at two Ja­panese med­i­cal cen­tres in the years 2013 to 2016. They found that the death rate among pa­tients with type O blood was 28 per cent, com­pared to just 11 per cent among those with other blood types.

It’s be­lieved this may be due to type O blood hav­ing lower lev­els of a blood­clot­ting agent known as von Wille­brand fac­tor.

The find­ings raise ques­tions about the use of type O blood for blood trans­fu­sions when treat­ing trauma pa­tients, but the re­port’s authors urge cau­tion, stress­ing that it is not yet known whether this ap­plies to all eth­nic groups as all 901 pa­tients in­volved in the re­search were Ja­panese. What’s more, the study only com­pared type O to non-type O pa­tients – hav­ing blood of types A, B or AB may af­fect pa­tient sur­vival rates in other ways. More re­search is there­fore needed be­fore hos­pi­tals re­write their trauma treat­ment rule books, the re­searchers say.

The O blood type is the most com­mon, and the one that’s most fre­quently re­quested by hos­pi­tals

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