Adherence to a strict specimen-labeling policy decreases the incidence of erroneous blood grouping of blood bank specimens

Transfusion. 1997 Nov-Dec;37(11-12):1169-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1537-2995.1997.37111298088047.x.


Background: To assess the effectiveness of a system of preventing incompatible blood transfusions resulting from the misidentification of patient specimens, a prospective analysis of all blood samples submitted to a laboratory was performed.

Study design and methods: Incorrectly labeled specimens (rejected samples) were tested for ABO and Rh type, and routine antibody screens were performed. Test results were compared to historic patient data or patient data obtained from subsequently submitted (correctly) labeled specimens. For comparison, all discrepant serologic results from appropriately labeled samples were also recorded.

Results: Specimens that failed to meet the criteria for specimen acceptance were 40 times more likely to have a blood grouping discrepancy.

Conclusion: Strict adherence to the labeling requirements results in a significant decrease in erroneous blood grouping. This would accordingly diminish the likelihood of transfusing out-of-group blood components.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / blood
  • Blood Banks*
  • Blood Group Incompatibility / blood
  • Blood Grouping and Crossmatching / standards*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • Quality Control
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / blood
  • Specimen Handling*


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System