Medical Alert Information

Our antibodies don't just affect our babies, they affect us too. The same antibodies that destroy baby's blood cells because they've got the antigen, will also destroy donor blood cells. If you get injured, end up unconscious, or have some other emergency situation and need blood, it's important for the doctors to know about your antibodies so they can find compatible blood. Once you have antibodies, you will have them for life. Your body will always remember how to make them quickly if it ever finds incompatible blood. Even if your antibodies are too low to titer or undetectable, the medical personnel need to know about them. If they don't a hemolytic transfusion reaction occurs (more info about that below). About 20 people die in the USA each year because of them. 5 minutes to fill out a free medical alert card, or order a bracelet can literally save your life.

This website has a free card (it also has bracelets for sale). Fill in the info, print it, and put it in your wallet. Bonus if you can laminate it. Put "Transfusion Alert: Anti-E" or whatever your antibody is right where it says existing conditions.

You can get medical alert bracelets from Etsy or a number of online retailers. You can also get a printable ID card here that already has the transfusion reaction part filled in.

Transfusion Reactions

Once a woman has antibodies, she is at high risk for a transfusion reaction. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3076326/ For this reason, she must carry a medical alert card at all times and inform all doctors of her antibody status.

“"Acute hemolytic transfusion reactions may be either immune-mediated or nonimmune-mediated. Immune-mediated hemolytic transfusion reactions caused by immunoglobulin M (IgM) anti-A, anti-B, or anti-A,B typically result in severe, potentially fatal complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis. Immune-mediated hemolytic reactions caused by IgG, Rh, Kell, Duffy, or other non-ABO antibodies typically result in extravascular sequestration, shortened survival of transfused red cells, and relatively mild clinical reactions. Acute hemolytic transfusion reactions due to immune hemolysis may occur in patients who have no antibodies detectable by routine laboratory procedures" http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/206885-overview#showall


"Acute hemolytic transfusion reactions may be either immune-mediated or nonimmune-mediated. Immune-mediated hemolytic transfusion reactions caused by immunoglobulin M (IgM) anti-A, anti-B, or anti-A,B typically result in severe, potentially fatal complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis. Immune-mediated hemolytic reactions caused by IgG, Rh, Kell, Duffy, or other non-ABO antibodies typically result in extravascular sequestration, shortened survival of transfused red cells, and relatively mild clinical reactions. Acute hemolytic transfusion reactions due to immune hemolysis may occur in patients who have no antibodies detectable by routine laboratory procedures" http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/206885-overview#showall

Easier to understand transfusion reaction info: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001303.htm

Hemolytic Transfusion Reactions - 
In FY2011, the number of reported fatal hemolytic transfusion reactions increased from 7 (18%) in FY2010 to 9 (30%) of confirmed transfusion related fatalities. There were increases in both ABO hemolytic reactions - from 2 (5%) in FY2010, to 3 (10%) in FY2011, and non-ABO hemolytic reactions – from 5 (13%) in FY2010, to 6 (20%) in FY2011 (Figure 1 and Table 1). Despite these recently observed increases, a downward trend in the total number of reported fatalities due to hemolytic transfusion reactions has continued since FY2001 (Figure 3)
In FY2011, there were six reports of non-ABO fatal hemolytic transfusion reactions: Two of the six cases were attributed to errors in the lab:
  • In one case, an anti-K was correctly identified; however, an error in pulling segments for K typing and compatibility testing resulted in the transfusion of an incompatible, K positive unit.
  • In a second case, a positive antibody screen misread as negative resulted in transfusion of an incompatible Fya positive unit. The immediate spin compatibility test did not detect the incompatibility.
  • The remaining four cases illustrate difficult compatibility issues without clear answers, including three patients with complex RBC antibody presentations which worsened following transfusion, and one case of delayed hemolytic transfusion reaction/hyperhemolysis syndrome in a sickle cell patient.
http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/ReportaProblem/TransfusionDonationFatalities/ucm302847.htm