The blood group laboratory performs pretransfusion testing from samples sent by hospitals, health centres and private laboratories. Tests include blood grouping, red cell antibody identification and crossmatch. These tests are performed using traditional serological methods as well as genotyping.
The purpose of pretransfusion testing is to ensure that the blood components to be transfused are suitable for the patient. Our experts interpret the test results in relation to the patient's clinical status and give a written statement on the tests performed, which will provide guidance for blood selection.
The laboratory serves as the national reference laboratory for pretransfusion testing. The laboratory employs biomedical laboratory scientists, genetics, biochemists and physicians. We offer our customers training and education related to blood group testing. The laboratory staff can be consulted in any problem situations related to blood transfusion 24/7.
Most of the testing has been accredited (T119, EN ISO/IEC 17025, EN ISO 15189). The tests performed are listed here (in Finnish).
National Reference Laboratory
Red cell antibodies are identified using red cell panels that, in addition to featuring the cells in accordance with international antigen requirements, include the rare antigens typical among the Finnish population. Such cells are not available in commercial red cell panels. For the purposes of further testing, we have also several commercial cell panels in use.
In our laboratory, we have collected hundreds of rare reagents, acquired through an international exchange programme, that are used for most demanding antibody identifications. The test cells are stored frozen in liquid nitrogen. Our laboratory information management system has a tailored database function which allows us to look for any antigen profiles needed for antibody identification from all the reagent red blood cells in our inventory.
Our laboratory maintains all the key commercial testing methods. We also perform blood group genotyping in accordance with international recommendations. The latest addition to our range of genotyping methods is determination of the RhD blood group of the fetus from the mother's plasma.
If necessary, the investigation of most demanding cases is performed in collaboration with international reference laboratories.
Rare blood groups
In addition to the ABO characteristics, there are many other blood group factors with varying frequencies. A blood group is classified as rare if it occurs in the population approximately less than 1:1,000 people.
Rare blood groups are revealed in blood group testing of patients and blood donors. Individuals with rare blood groups can also be searched for on the basis of geographical origin, ethnic background or genealogy.
If suitable blood product cannot be found for a patient in the Blood Service inventory, the suitable blood donors are called in. Red cells of rare blood groups have also been frozen for long-term and can be thawed when need arises. If the rare blood type cannot be found in Finland, enquiries of availability will be made to international blood banks.