Having type O blood increases the risk of death from serious injury - possibly because of lower levels of von Willebrand factor in this type of blood, a new study has shown.
The study, undertaken in Japan, of 901 emergency care patients found that those with blood type O had a death rate of 28% following a severe trauma compared with 11% among people with other blood types.
Writing in Critical Care, lead researcher Dr Wataru Takayama, from Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital, said his team wanted to test the hypothesis that trauma survival is affected by differences in blood types following recent studies had suggested that type O blood could be a potential risk factor for haemorrhage.
"Our results also raise questions about how emergency transfusion of O type red blood cells to a severe trauma patient could affect haemostasis, the process which causes bleeding to stop, and if this is different from other blood types,” he said.
The research team said that patients with blood type O have lower levels of blood-clotting agent von Willebrand factor compared with other blood types. This could explain the increased risk of haemorrhage.
The next stage will be to establish the mechanisms involved in these differences and wok towards improving the outcome for type O patients.
“Further research is necessary to investigate the results of our study and develop the best treatment strategy for severe trauma patients" said Dr Takayama.
Source: Takayama, W., Endo, A., Koguchi, H., Sugimoto, M., Murata, K. and Otomo, Y., 2018. The impact of blood type O on mortality of severe trauma patients: a retrospective observational study. Critical Care, 22(1), p.100.
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