Q:

What is a universal donor?

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Quick Answer

According to the Red Cross, blood type O is the universal blood donor. Group O blood does not contain either A or B antigens on its red blood cells. Therefore, it can be donated to any patient without complications.

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Full Answer

Blood types are determined by the presence or absence of antigens on red blood cells, states the Red Cross. Red blood cells can have A or B antigens on their surfaces. The different antigens present determine the blood type of the patient. For example, blood type A only has the A antigen present on its red blood cells, while type AB has A and B antigens present. Blood type O has no antigens on its red blood cells and is, therefore, a universal donor.

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