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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Kell Antigen
December 2001

Q. I am 17 years old and carry the Kell antigen. This caused problems during my birth and the first few years of my life. I am interested to know whether the Kell antigen could cause any problems in the next several years of my life.

A. The Kell antigen is a protein carried on the surface of the red blood cell. It is not known to cause clinical problems in the situation you describe. Problems can occur if you give or receive blood for transfusion in which there may be incompatability. And in pregnant women with the Kell antigen, there can be problems for the baby for the same reasons, in which the mother's antibodies attack the red blood cells of the fetus. Your doctor or hematologist can discuss the specifics in your case.



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