Donor selection: Predicting low haemoglobin deferrals in donors based on indicators for depleting iron stores


Repeated blood donations may lead to a lowering of haemoglobin (Hb) levels over time, but the trajectories of Hb values are subject to selection effects, for example due to donors becoming demotivated after a rejection. It becomes important to monitor the precise course by which repeated blood donation increases the probability of having a Hb level below the cut-off for donation, thus helping to identify (groups of) donors at risk for low-Hb deferral. To this end, data on declining Hb trajectories above the cut-off point and/or iron store indicators, such as zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP), could prove essential.


Whole blood donation over time could lead to the depletion of body iron stores. Depleted iron stores could lead to health problems and an increased risk of being deferred for low haemoglobin levels. Regular haemoglobin measurements are currently used to monitor the iron levels of blood donors but these haemoglobin levels are not an accurate indicator of true body iron stores. Ferritin, the iron storage protein reflect the body iron stores accurately and monitoring donors based on routine ferritin measurements could potentially lead to fewer low haemoglobin deferrals and better donor management.

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