Human blood is typed according to whether certain markers, called
antigens, are present on the surface of red blood cells. The ABO system
classifies blood as type A, B, AB, or O based on the presence or absence of the
A and B antigens; the Rh system classifies blood as negative or positive based
on the presence or absence of the Rh antigen (Rh factor).
If red blood cells have:
The A antigen, they are type A
The B antigen, they are type B blood.
Both the A
and B antigens, they are type AB blood.
Neither A nor B antigens,
they are type O blood.
Rh blood typing determines the presence (+) or absence (-) of the
Rh factor. If red blood cells:
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology