The right blood transfusion can mean the difference between life and death. Our immune systems are designed to know what belongs in our body and what doesn’t. If a patient gets the wrong blood type, things can go very wrong. That’s why there are very specific ways in which blood types must be matched for a safe transfusion.
Use the interactive graphic below to learn more about matching blood types for transfusions.
The universal red cell donor has type O-negative blood. O-negative donors are essential to saving the lives of patients when we don’t know their blood type (often in trauma situations), and their blood is the only type that O-negative recipients can receive. The universal plasma donor has type AB blood.
Also, Rh-negative blood is given to Rh-negative patients, and Rh-positive or Rh-negative blood may be given to Rh-positive patients. The rules for plasma are the reverse.