5 year old girl with Rare Blood Group ‘P Null’ undergoes a Successful Surgery


Five-year-old Anushka Santhosh, was admitted to Amrita Institute of Medical Science (AIMS) in Kochi following a head injury.But she required donors for her very rare blood group and what made the search extremely challenging was the fact that Anushka has a rare blood group called ‘pp’ or ‘p null’ phenotype. So far, only two people, including Anushka, have been identified with the ‘pp’ blood group in India.

But very fortunately the doctors have been able to conduct the surgery without the need of a second person’s blood. Anushka’s blood was collected and reused during the surgery.

According to AIMS authorities, Anushka fell from the first floor of the building in July 2019. “She sustained intracranial bleeding and had to undergo surgery on the very same day. A follow-up surgery was held this year in March wherein titanium mesh was implanted, but it resulted in wound infection and implant exposure. Following this, she was brought to AIMS for further treatment. Anushka underwent advanced wound therapy treatment and microvascular surgery to cover the wound here. But, the surgery was challenging due to the age of the child, position of the wound and the blood group status,” said the spokesperson.

What is ‘P null phenotype’

It was in 2018 that doctors in India first identified the ‘p null phenotype’. A team of doctors, led by Dr Shamee Shastry from the Blood Bank of Kasturba Medical College at Manipal identified the group after they failed to find a compatible blood unit for a particular blood sample even after cross-matching it with more than 80 units. A blood type is considered rare when lesser than one in 1,000 people have it. Lack of high-frequency antigen or multiple common antigens makes a blood group rare.