ABO, Rh Compatibility Refresher

Updated June 1, 2014
Author: MMC Transfusion Policy Pages 2010

Description: Quick Review of ABO and Rh Compatibility for transfusion of Blood Products

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Red Blood Cells (RBCs, packedRBCs)

Red Blood Cells
Recipient Blood Type
Compatible Cells from Donor/Blood Bank
A A, O
B B, O
O O only
AB A, B, O
Rh Factor:
Rh+ Rh+, Rh-
Rh- Rh-negative patients should only receive Rh-negative RBC’s.
In certain situations (extremely low Blood Bank inventory of Rh-negative units) Rh-positive RBC’s may be given with approval of the patient’s physician and the Medical Director of the Blood Bank.


Fresh Frozen Plasma, Cryoprecipitate

Fresh Frozen Plasma, Cryo
Recipient Blood Type
Compatible FFP from Donor/Blood Bank
O O,A, B
AB AB only
Rh Factor:
Rh+ Rh Compatibility NOT an issue as neither plasma nor cryo contain red cells



For infants – donor plasma in platelets should be ABO compatible with the recipient’s red blood cells. Refer to fresh frozen plasma guideline.

For adults – donor plasma in platelets need not be ABO compatible with recipient’s red blood cells.

Rh-positive Recipients may receive Rh-positive or Rh-negative platelets.

Rh-negative Recipients should preferentially receive Rh-negative platelets, because platelets may contain some RBC’s. Occasionally, Rh-positive platelets are given to Rh-negative patients. The Transfusionist caring for the patient will be notified by the Blood Bank if the patient is a candidate for Rh Immune Globulin administration. Rh Immune Globulin must be administered within 72 hours of the transfusion. (Refer to MMC Institutional policy: “RhoGam Administration.”)