Published: 2019-03-27

Distribution of RH and Kell (K) blood group antigens among blood donors in a tertiary care hospital of Jammu region, India

Irm Yasmeen, Meena Sidhu, Ibrar Ahmed


Background: Knowledge about the frequency of red cell antigen phenotype is very important for the creation of donor data bank and to minimize the risk of alloimmunization. This requires the determination of immunological characteristics of blood products and blood recipients by performing phenotyping of clinically significant blood group antigens. The aims and objectives were to study the distribution of Rh and Kell (K) antigen among blood donors of different ethnic groups in a tertiary care hospital.

Methods: This was prospective observational cross sectional one-point analysis study which was carried out over a period of one year with effect from November 2015 to October 2016 in the Postgraduate Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion Medicine, Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh (SMGS) Hospital, Government Medical College, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It comprised of voluntary and replacement donors and categorized into different ethnic groups i.e Dogras, Gujjar Muslims, Non-Gujjar Muslims, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and Christian. Donors selection criteria was as per Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Results: A total of 500 (Five hundred) blood samples from the donors of all blood groups were typed for the presence of Rh (D, C, E, c, e) and Kell (K) antigens. Out of these 500 samples, 420 were antigen typed by conventional tube technique and 80 samples were typed by column agglutination technique using glass beads. As per ethnicity, maximum donors were Dogras (74%) followed by Non-Gujjar Muslims (9.4%), Gujjar Muslims (9%), Sikhs (5.6%), Kashmiri Pandits (1.4%) and Christians were the least in frequency (0.6%). On phenotyping for Rh and Kell antigens ‘e’ antigen have the ubiquitous distribution and was found to have the highest frequency 486 (97.2%) followed by ‘D’ antigen 472 (94.4%), ‘C’ antigen 426 (85.2%), ‘c’ antigen 320 (64.0%) and ‘E’ antigen 103 (20.6%). Overall frequency of Kell (K) antigen was 2.6%.

Conclusions: Knowledge of red cell antigen phenotype frequencies in a population with different ethnic groups can help in creating donor data bank and database for the distribution of blood groups for preparing inhouse cell panels and providing proper antigen compatible blood for patients with multiple alloantibodies and also reduce the risk of RBC antigen alloimmunization along with their complications.


Alloimmunization, Antibodies, Hemolytic transfusion reaction

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