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A tissue type test is a blood test that identifies substances called antigens on the surface of body cells and tissues. Checking the antigens can tell if donor tissue is safe (compatible) for transplant to another person. This test may also be called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing. Based on the antigens, the immune system can tell the difference between normal body tissue and foreign tissue (such as tissue from another person's body). Tissue type helps find the best match for tissues or platelets). In some cases, a tissue type test may be done to see if a person has a chance of getting certain diseases that cause the body to attack its own cells, such as autoimmune diseases.
A special pattern of antigens (called tissue type) is present on each person's cells and tissues. Half of each person's antigens come from (are inherited from) the mother and half from the father. Identical twins have the same pattern, but everyone else has their own special pattern. Brothers and sisters have a 1-in-4 chance of having an identical match. Each person's antigen pattern can be "fingerprinted" through a tissue type test.
A tissue type test is done to:
In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.
If you are donating tissue or blood cells, your doctor may want to talk about your medical history—such as a history of cancer, infections, high-risk behaviours, use of drugs, exposure to toxins, and foreign travel. This may be important in understanding whether your donor tissue can be used.
A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.
When a blood sample is taken, you may feel nothing at all from the needle. Or you might feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of having a problem from this test. When a blood sample is taken, a small bruise may form at the site.
Adaptation Date: 2/24/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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