Evidence that donors with variant RH genotypes are associated with unexpected Rh antibodies.

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DOI: 10.1111/trf.17525


BACKGROUND: We previously reported unexpected Rh antibodies in the plasma of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) that demonstrated common Rh specificities in the absence of transfusion of RBCs positive for that antigen. We hypothesize that these antibodies might result from transfusion of antigen-negative donor units with variant RH genotypes.

METHODS: Plasma testing by tube and IgG gel, extended RBC phenotyping, and HEA and RH genotyping were by standard methods.

CASE: A 6-year-old female with SCD, phenotype D + C-c + E-e + K- undergoing exchange transfusion with CEK- and Fy(a-) units, presented with anti-C in the plasma, a + DAT and warm autoantibody (WAA) in the eluate. Her RH genotype was unremarkable: RHD*D/DAU0 and RHCE*ce/ce(48C). Units (n = 10) transfused over the prior 6 months were confirmed CEK- by serology and DNA testing. Most (n = 7) were Rh-negative. A unit with variant RH, RHD*DIIIa/weak partial 4.0, RHCE*ceVS.03/ceVS.02, was transfused 5 weeks prior. Anti-C and + DAT continued to demonstrate for 25 weeks. Total hemoglobin and % Hgb S did not deviate from her established baseline.

CONCLUSION: We show direct association of plasma anti-C with transfusion of a C-negative unit with variant RH encoding partial D and uncommon V/VS+ hrB - phenotype. The antibody was transient, without evidence of compromised survival of transfused RBCs. The +DAT and WAA complicated workups and selection of units, and it is uncertain whether donors of the same genotype should be avoided. Minority donors are important for CEK-matching to avoid depleting Rh-negative supplies. Consideration of patient and donor RH genotypes may avoid unexpected antibodies and improve allocation of rare donations.

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immunohematology (RBC serology, blood groups); transfusion complications-non infectious; transfusion practices (Oncology-Hematology)

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