A 13-Question Approach to Resolving Serological Discrepancies in the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory
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Laboratory professionals, consultants, and treating physicians may encounter discrepancies in serological testing results for numerous reasons; identifying the reason(s) for the presence of an unexpected antibody or antigen can be challenging. A question-based approach can be useful in identifying the underlying cause of the discrepancy. We describe a new approach to serological problems in a transfusion-service laboratory. The approach we outline herein is targeted towards a general transfusion medicine service, rather than a center that offers complex antibody investigations using specialized techniques. This question-based problem-solving approach considers patient factors including diagnosis, transfusion history, previous pregnancies, and medication history, along with serological test results: ABO and Rh groups, direct and indirect antiglobulin tests, reacting temperature of the antibody, effect of enzyme treatment of cells, strength of reactivity, and antibody reactivity with umbilical cord cells. We also demonstrate the usefulness of this approach through a case scenario.
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