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When it comes to patient care and what is the most needed blood type, the answer can vary depending upon the situation. 

Overall, the most in-demand blood type is O, both positive and negative. But type AB, for example, is the most in-demand blood type for plasma donations. Platelet donations are constantly in demand because of their short shelf life, and A-positive and B-positive are the blood types most needed to donate platelets.

Why the differences in the most needed blood types?

The reason different blood types are the most in demand for different situations is mainly blood type compatibility. (Need a refresher on blood types and compatibility? Check out our easy-peasy blood type charts.)

Type O is generally the most in-demand blood type because it can be transfused with the most patients, regardless of blood type. O-negative blood can be given to a patient with any other blood type, which is why people with this most needed blood type are called universal donors.

O-positive can be given to anyone with a positive blood type, or half of the blood types: A-positive, B-positive, AB-positive and other O-positives.

Type O blood plays a huge role in emergency trauma situations where a patient needs blood quickly. Doctors can use O blood when they don’t know or have time to determine a patient’s blood type. So, it’s easy to see why the O blood types are most needed and often the first to run low during a blood shortage.

There are universal plasma donors, too

Plasma, the liquid portion of your blood, makes up 95 percent of blood volume and carries the other parts of blood through the body. Any blood type can make a plasma donation, but AB-positive and AB-negative are the blood types in highest demand for this type of donation. That’s because they, too, are universal donors – AB plasma can be transfused to a patient with any blood type.

Plasma transfusions often help patients with severe burns, or who have massive blood loss during childbirth or from serious traumas like motor vehicle accidents or gunshot wounds. This means AB plasma also is crucial for hospitals to have on hand for emergencies.

Platelets are one of the most in-demand types of donation

Platelets are one of the special types of donation you can make using a special donation process. Platelets are responsible for clotting your blood. About half of platelet donations help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, because the chemotherapy tends to destroy platelets along with the cancer cells.

Thousands of people are undergoing cancer treatment every day, and platelets are so fragile they must be used within a week of being donated. These two factors make platelets a product that is always in demand and often in short supply.

While any person no matter their blood type can donate platelets and they can be transfused to anyone regardless of blood type, we do recommend those with blood types A-positive and B-positive donate platelets. A large portion of the blood donor population has these blood types, and they are not as in demand for other types of blood donation.

Your blood donation is always needed

No matter what your blood type is, your blood donation is always in demand. Don’t let patients and their doctors worry about blood being available when they need it. Start saving lives by scheduling your appointment today.

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