Background: The Kell blood group system has different types of antigens, which have immunogenic properties; therefore, it is considered as the third clinically significant blood group in blood transfusion. Patients that lack Kell antigen may produce antibodies that may cause transfusion reaction. This study is the first report on Kell antigen system distribution in blood donors in Makkah city which is important to improve transfusion services. Therefore, the aim of the current study is to determine the distribution of Kell antigens and phenotypes among blood donors in Makkah city, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: This is a retrospective study to determine the prevalence of Kell antigens among blood donors, who come to donate blood in Al Noor specialist hospital, Makkah city. The sample size was 150 donors with a minimum age of 18 years.
Results: The most common Kell antigens were k antigen (96%) and Kpb (98%), while the less common were K antigen (18.7%) and Kpa (3.3%). The two most common Kell phenotypes are Kp(a-b+) (95%) and K-k+ (79.3%), while the two least common Kell phenotypes are Kp(a-b-) (1.3%) and Kp(a+b-) (0.6%).
Conclusions: This is the first study that set out to determine the prevalence of Kell antigens and phenotypes among blood donors in Makkah city. This study showed that there is a variation in Kell antigen and phenotype distribution. The Kell blood group system has an important impact on transfusion medicine.