Incompatible Blood Type Kidney Transplants

A recipient's body will always view an organ as a foreign object. If a deceased donor and transplant recipient do not share the same blood type, a transplant will not be performed.  When a living donor and transplant recipient don't share the same blood type, the recipient can undergo special treatment to quiet the immune system and allow the recipient to accept the living donor's blood type incompatible kidney. Without this treatment, the recipient's body will reject the new kidney, causing the transplant to fail.

At Cedars-Sinai, our kidney transplant team has developed several techniques that make incompatible blood type transplants possible. That means a living donor may still be able to donate to their loved of a different blood type.

What Is Blood Type Compatibility?

There are four different blood types a person can have—A, B, AB and O. Each blood type is compatible with some, but not all, of the other types. The table below outlines compatible donors for each blood type:

Recipient
Compatible Donor

A

A or O

B

B or O

AB

A or B or AB or O

O

O

How We Make ABO Incompatible Transplants Successful

We are one of the nation's leading centers for transplants performed between incompatible blood type donor and recipient pairs. More than 30% of the living donor transplants we perform are ABO incompatible. Our success rates for these transplants are nearly equal to compatible blood type transplants.

Our approach to handling these complex cases includes:

Innovative Immune Modifying Techniques

The recipient will naturally have antibodies in their blood that will attack a kidney from a donor with a different blood type. It's crucial to reduce the levels of these antibodies prior to transplant surgery. We use several advanced techniques to successfully modify the recipient's immune system and block these antibodies.

Careful Monitoring

We continuously test the antibodies in your blood as we prepare you for surgery. We schedule the transplant when the techniques have been successful and your antibody level has decreased.

Post-Transplant Care

All transplant patients need to take immunosuppressant drugs to keep their body from rejecting the new organ. But after an ABO incompatible transplant, monitoring for rejection is even more critical. The team at Cedars-Sinai is pioneering the use of new medications that can significantly reduce rejection caused by antibodies.

A2 to B Transplants

Some people have a subtype of type A blood, called A2. Someone with type B blood can successfully receive a transplant from someone with the A2 subtype.

Our A2 to B transplant program greatly decreases the waiting time for patients with type B blood.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call us or send a message to the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pacific Time (U.S.)
Available 24 hours a day

(1-800-233-2771)