Serious Blood Clots a Concern for AB Blood Type

Venous thromboembolism risk increased in AB blood types

(RxWiki News) Recent research points to AB blood type as an important risk factor for developing serious blood clots. Do you know what your blood type is?  

Venous thromboembolism is a blood clot in a vein that potentially can move. They will commonly originate in the leg or hip area. The danger is that the blood clot can travel to the lungs. Once in the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism, and the clot can cause serious medical problems, including heart attack and death. 

A recent study found that having type AB blood was a strong and important risk factor for developing venous thromboembolism. AB blood type paired with two genetic mutations added to the risk of developing venous thromboembolism. 

"Find out your blood type and family history of blood clots."

Birgitte Sode, MD, from the Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Anaesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital, and colleagues led the study which used data from two Danish studies. Information was collected on 66,001 participants with AB blood type and two types of gene mutations. The participants were followed from 1977 to 2010. The two gene mutations, factor V Leiden R506Q and prothrombin G20210A, are known risk factors of venous thromboembolism.

Results found that the risk of venous thromboembolism was 20 percent higher for participants with type AB blood. Participants with factor V Leiden R506Q mutation had a 10 percent increase of venous thromboembolism and participants with prothrombin G20210A mutation had a 1 percent increased risk. 

Participants with a double dosing of the prothrombin mutation had an 11 times increased risk of developing venous thromboembolism.

There was not a significant increase in risk of heart attack between participants with AB blood type or the two mutated genes versus participants without that blood type or mutated genes.

Study authors suggested that genetic screening for thrombophilia and a genetic predisposition for abnormal blood clotting should include AB blood type. 

The study had some limitations. Participants were primarily white Danes and the results may not be true for the general public. Authors did note that the genetic mutations and blood type are found in all races. Because authors used hospital data, perhaps not all blood clotting events led the participant to seek treatment. 

This study, titled "Risk of venous thromboembolism and myocardial infarction associated with factor V Leiden and prothrombin mutations and blood type," was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It was funded by the Danish Lung Association and Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital. Dr. Sode and colleagues disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
February 6, 2013