The association between AB blood group and neonatal disease

McMahon, K.E., Habeeb, O., Bautista, G.M., Levin, S., DeChristopher, P.J., Glynn, L.A., Jeske, W., Muraskas, J.K.* | JNPM 2019;

BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have examined the association between ABO blood groups and adult disease states, but very few have studied the neonatal population. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between AB blood group and the occurrence of common neonatal disorders such as neutropenia at birth, sepsis, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) compared to all other blood groups.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective review on 3,981 infants born at 22 0/7 to 42 6/7 weeks’ gestational age and compared the relative risk of neonatal diseases in infants with AB blood group to that of infants with all other blood groups (A, B, and O).
RESULTS: When compared to all other blood groups, AB infants demonstrated an increased risk for developing negative clinical outcomes. AB blood group was significantly associated with a 14–89% increased risk of neutropenia at birth, sepsis, RDS, and ROP. Risks for IVH and PDA were not significant.
CONCLUSION: We hypothesize that the phenotypic expression of A and B antigens, rather than the antigens themselves, in the AB group may reveal an enhanced susceptibility to injury at the endothelial level resulting in an increased risk for disease development.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Jonathan K. Muraskas, MD, Director of Neonatal-Perinatal Research; Professor of Pediatrics and OB/Gyn, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA. 2160 S. First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA. Tel.: +1 708 216 1067; Fax: +1 708 216 5602; E-mail: