Setting Up Universal Low-Titer Group O Whole Blood

This post outlines a framework for establishing the use of universal group O whole blood.  Manual titering large number of donor specimens in my organization is not precise.  Using an automated system will also increase the precision of the results.  The rate-limiting step is the ability to do the anti-A and anti-B titers.


  1. Select cut-offs for anti-A anti-B titer.  This should be determined by the blood bank medical director.
    1. I recommend saline 1:64 for both titers based on recent THOR (Thrombosis Hemostasis Oxygenation Research) meetings
  2. Assess availability of automated immunohematology analyzers for titration.
    1. Titration may take up to 30 minutes per sample, during which time the machine cannot be used for any other purpose.
  3. Perform a survey of the anti-A and anti-B titers in your blood donor population.
    1. At my sites, about 50% had titers less than or equal to 1:64.
    2. Determine how stable the titer is:
      1. Does the titer change between whole blood donations?
  4. Prepare as follows:
    1. Collect whole blood units in CPD.
    2. Filter with a platelet-sparing whole blood leukodepletion filter.
  5. Add a new blood type OU (for group O whole blood universal) for plasma in your blood typing algorithm.
  6. Establish new allocation rules to permit group OU whole blood for all ABO types.
  7. Software:
    1. Set up new truth table in your blood bank computer system.
    2. Validate the modification in your blood bank donor and patient modules.
    3. Update ISBT code for this new product, verify your transfusion service module can read this.
  8. Determine the target inventory level for universal plasma (group AB and low-titer A) based on current/past usage.
    1. I started with a trial of a small inventory of 8 units to cover 4 patients each receiving a maximum of 2 units at one trauma site.
    2. Consider a dose of two as equivalent to an MTP dose in an adult.
    3. If more than 2 units  are needed, revert to the MTP protocol.

Special notes:

  1. At my last location, we had only 3 analyzers capable of doing the titration.  Thus, we could only do 6 titrations per hour at the expense of stopping all other testing.  You will have to coordinate the titration with your other immunohematology testing.  Also, you must verify if all these equipment can interface to your production software.  In my system, any test (including titration) could be performed at any location and its results be used for production purposes.
  2. Donor ABO antibody titers may fluctuate.  I would not use previous results to qualify a donor to be OU.  I would repeat the anti-A and anti-B titer each donor encounter.


  1. Technical Manual, Current Edition, Bethesda, MD, USA
  2. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA
  3. Medinfo Hematos IIG Donor Production Module