What does the blood type RH negative mean?


Rh negative means that you don't have the antigens to Rh. A mother who has Rh negative blood may attack it's baby's blood.

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Blood Pediatrics Hematology

The Rh (Rhesus) blood group system (including the Rh factor) is one of thirty-two current human blood group systems. Clinically, it is the most important blood group system after ABO. At present, the Rh blood group system consists of 50 defined blood-group antigens, among which the five antigens D, C, c, E, and e are the most important. The commonly used terms Rh factor, Rh positive and Rh negative refer to the D antigen only. Besides its role in blood transfusion, the Rh blood group system—specifically, the D antigen—is used to determine the risk of hemolytic disease of the newborn (or erythroblastosis fetalis) as prevention is key.

An individual either has, or does not have, the "Rhesus factor" on the surface of their red blood cells. This term strictly refers only to the most immunogenic D antigen of the Rh blood group system, or the Rh− blood group system. The status is usually indicated by Rh positive (Rh+ does have the D antigen) or Rh negative (Rh− does not have the D antigen) suffix to the ABO blood type. However, other antigens of this blood group system are also clinically relevant. These antigens are listed separately (see below: Rh nomenclature). In contrast to the ABO blood group, immunization against Rh can generally only occur through blood transfusion or placental exposure during pregnancy in women.

A blood type (also called a blood group) is a classification of blood based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system. Some of these antigens are also present on the surface of other types of cells of various tissues. Several of these red blood cell surface antigens can stem from one allele (or very closely linked genes) and collectively form a blood group system. Blood types are inherited and represent contributions from both parents. A total of 32 human blood group systems are now recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). The two most important ones are ABO and the RhD antigen; they determine someone's blood type (A, B, AB and O, with + and - denoting RhD status).

Many pregnant women carry a fetus with a blood type different from their own, and the mother can form antibodies against fetal RBCs. Sometimes these maternal antibodies are IgG, a small immunoglobulin, which can cross the placenta and cause hemolysis of fetal RBCs, which in turn can lead to hemolytic disease of the newborn called erythroblastosis fetalis, an illness of low fetal blood counts that ranges from mild to severe. Sometimes this is lethal for the fetus; in these cases it is called hydrops fetalis.

Rh disease (also known as Rhesus isoimmunisation, Rh (D) disease, Rhesus incompatibility, Rhesus disease, RhD Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn, Rhesus D Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn or RhD HDN) is one of the causes of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). The disease ranges from mild to severe, and typically occurs only in some second or subsequent pregnancies of Rh negative women where the fetus's father is Rh positive, leading to a Rh+ pregnancy. During birth, the mother may be exposed to the infant's blood, and this causes the development of antibodies, which may affect the health of subsequent Rh+ pregnancies. In mild cases, the fetus may have mild anaemia with reticulocytosis. In moderate or severe cases the fetus may have a more marked anaemia and erythroblastosis (erythroblastosis fetalis). When the disease is very severe it may cause haemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN), hydrops fetalis or stillbirth.

Rh disease is generally preventable by treating the mother during pregnancy or soon after delivery with an intramuscular injection of anti-RhD immunoglobulin (Rho(D) immune globulin). The RhD protein is coded for by the RHD gene.

Hemolytic disease of the newborn, also known as hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn, HDN, HDFN, or erythroblastosis fetalis, is an alloimmune condition that develops in a fetus, when the IgG molecules (one of the five main types of antibodies) produced by the mother pass through the placenta. Among these antibodies are some which attack the red blood cells in the fetal circulation; the red cells are broken down and the fetus can develop reticulocytosis and anemia. This fetal disease ranges from mild to very severe, and fetal death from heart failure (hydrops fetalis) can occur. When the disease is moderate or severe, many erythroblasts are present in the fetal blood and so these forms of the disease can be called erythroblastosis fetalis (or erythroblastosis foetalis).

Hemolysis leads to elevated bilirubin levels. After delivery bilirubin is no longer cleared (via the placenta) from the neonate's blood and the symptoms of jaundice (yellowish skin and yellow discoloration of the whites of the eyes) increase within 24 hours after birth. Like any other severe neonatal jaundice, there is the possibility of acute or chronic kernicterus. Profound anemia can cause high-output heart failure, with pallor, enlarged liver and/or spleen, generalized swelling, and respiratory distress. The prenatal manifestations are known as hydrops fetalis; in severe forms this can include petechiae and purpura. The infant may be stillborn or die shortly after birth.]citation needed[


Transfusion medicine (or transfusiology) is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the transfusion of blood and blood components. The blood bank is the section of the clinical laboratory where medical technologists process and distribute blood products under the supervision of a medical director, often certified in Pathology or Transfusion Medicine. The blood donor center, also under the supervision of a physician who may be a Transfusion Medicine specialist, is the facility that collects and processes blood products. Transfusion medicine is a board-certified specialty recognized by the American Board of Pathology.]citation needed[ Physicians from a wide range of backgrounds, including pathology, hematology, anesthesiology and pediatrics, are eligible for board certification in Transfusion Medicine following a 1-2 year fellowship.

Physicians certified in Transfusion Medicine are trained in blood product selection and management, immunohematology, apheresis, stem cell collection, cellular therapy, and coagulation. They are often considered a consultant for physicians who require expertise advice on the subjects listed above.

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