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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Pediatrics and Child Health - Respiratory Medicine

ABO Blood Group Is Associated with Response to Inhaled Nitric Oxide in Neonates with Respiratory Failure
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Author: George T. El-Ferzli et al.

by George T. El-Ferzli, Mackenzie Dreher, Rakesh P. Patel, Namasivayam Ambalavanan


Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) reduces death or need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). However, the response to iNO is variable and only 50–60% of infants demonstrate a response to iNO. It is not known why only some infants respond to iNO. Adults and children with blood groups B or AB do not respond as well to iNO as those with blood groups O/A.

Methods/Principal Findings

To determine if blood group was associated with iNO response in newborn infants, a retrospective medical record review was done of infants admitted to a regional NICU from 2002-9 with a diagnosis of PPHN. Data were collected during the first twelve hours post-initiation of treatment. Of 86 infants diagnosed with PPHN, 23 infants had blood group A [18 received iNO], 21 had group B [18 with iNO], 40 had group O [36 with iNO], and 2 had group AB [both received iNO]. Change in PaO2/FiO2 was less in infants with blood group A, of whom less than half were responders (?PaO2/FiO2>20%) at 12 h versus 90% of infants with either O or B. Race, sex, birth weight, gestational age, Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes, and baseline PaO2/FiO2 were similar among groups. Outcomes including need for ECMO, death, length of ventilatory support, length of iNO use, and hospital stay were statistically not different by blood groups.


Our results indicate that blood group influences iNO response in neonates. We hypothesize that either there is genetic linkage of the ABO gene locus with vasoregulatory genes, or that blood group antigens directly affect vascular reactivity.