Whether you’re managing blood systems or are just an ordinary person who may need a transfusion or something similar down the line, knowing one’s blood type is an important part of maintaining their health. However, one major study out of Japan suggests that there may be even more consequences to this than we think, some that could be even life-threatening.
The study was done by researchers in Tokyo, and published in Critical Care. The study authors looked at the medical records of 900 patients who had visited one of two emergency critical care medical centers in Japan from 2013 to 2016. The common trait between the patients is that they all were admitted with severe trauma, any injury that could lead to death or permanent disability.
The landmark findings were that 28% of people with blood type O died without any medical intervention, a substantial level above the 11% of people with other blood types that died under other circumstances.
“Recent studies suggest that blood type O could be a potential risk factor for hemorrhage,” said lead author WataruTakayama, a doctor at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital, in a formal statement. “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. We wanted to test the hypothesis that trauma survival is affected by differences in blood types.”
What’s less clear at the moment is exactly what could lead to such a correlation. People with the O type are more likely to have less lower plasma Von Willebrand factor (vWF) levels. “vWF plays a decisive role in primary haemostasis [the stopping of bleeding] by mediating the adhesion of blood platelets to the subendothelium of the damaged vessel walls and promoting the aggregation of activated platelets,” the authors explain.
The Nature of Blood Types
The thing about these findings is that, for the most part, there’s not much that’s obvious that we can do in the first place. There’s nothing on the table remotely close that can help us in terms of somehow altering or changing blood types. What the study authors recommended was perhaps using some sort of screening during the early stages of trauma treatment to account for these kinds of issues. Types of blood are determined by the presence or absence of specific antigens. These antigens are substances that trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body. These immune responses can be dangerous if unchecked, which is why it is so important when performing blood transfusions that blood matches. Type O-negative blood is generally compatible with any blood type, while people with Type AB+ can receive any blood type.