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ASA: Blood Type Affects Bleeding, Death After Heart Surgery

Lowest risk among AB blood group possibly attributable to high levels of blood clotting proteins

MONDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of death or complications after heart surgery is affected by blood type, with patients with AB blood type having the lowest risk of death and bleeding, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

Ian J. Welsby, M.D., from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues investigated whether having a particular blood type was associated with the risk of death or complications after heart surgery in more than 15,000 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

The investigators found that patients with AB blood type had a 20 percent lower risk of mortality compared to patients with A, B, or O blood types. Patients with AB blood type had higher levels of two blood clotting proteins, the von Willebrand factor and Factor VIII, than those with other blood types. Patients with blood type O had the lowest levels of these clotting proteins. Individuals with AB blood type may be more likely to develop blood clots and/or bleed less. Compared to patients with blood type A, B, or O, those with AB were at the lowest risk for bleeding.

"Bleeding less could contribute to the lower death rate in AB blood type patients since bleeding and blood transfusions put patients at a higher risk for death or complications after surgery," Welsby said in a statement.

Abstract No. A1104
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