Review Article

Current Concerns for Blood Donor Well-Being and Health

Authors: Robert F. Reiss, MD, Debra Kessler, RN, MS


In addition to assuring an adequate and safe blood supply, blood collection agencies are responsible for the well being of donors. Several aspects of the current blood donor experience may negatively impact donor health and require modification. Physicians need to be aware of health-related issues associated with blood donation in order to more effectively counsel patients participating in this critical community service and manage patients referred to them by blood collection agencies.

Key Points

* Blood donors may not receive effective counseling and referral for medical conditions identified during the donation process.

* Individuals with significant medical conditions often qualify for donation.

* Current qualification requirements permit donation by men who are mildly anemic and allow donation by premenopausal females with a frequency that leads to iron deficiency.

* Donor reactions occur with increased incidence among teenage donors and, when associated with syncope, may lead to significant injury.

* Blood collection agencies must take additional steps to minimize risks to donor wellbeing, and primary care physicians must be aware of these issues to effectively counsel their patients.

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