Worldwide policies on haemochromatosis and blood donation: A survey among blood services

Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Mechelen, Belgium.
Vox Sanguinis (Impact Factor: 2.8). 05/2013; 105(2). DOI: 10.1111/vox.12038
Source: PubMed


Background and objectives:
Haemochromatosis (HC) is a disorder of iron metabolism, requiring frequent phlebotomy to normalize high serum iron levels. There is currently no consensus relating to the eligibility of these patients to donate blood for transfusion. To gain a better understanding of the policies worldwide, a survey amongst blood services was performed.

Materials and methods:
A web-based questionnaire was developed and distributed among 44 blood services in 41 countries to identify the different policies relating to patients with HC and blood donation.

Respondents from 35 blood services (80%) of 33 countries completed the questionnaire. In 24 blood services among them (69%), individuals with genetic susceptibility for HC and/or patients with HC are accepted as blood donors. In approximately one-third of these blood centres (33%), genetic carriers/patients are allowed to donate blood more frequently than regular donors. Prescription from/approval by the patient's treating physician and/or a donor physician is required in the majority of the blood services (87%). Similar policies were identified in a few countries; however, in general, the policies regarding blood donation from patients with HC remain widely variable.

The results of our survey demonstrate large differences in the blood donation policies regarding carriers/patients with HC illustrating the need for uniform evidence-based and cost-effective policies which could benefit both HC patients and the blood supply around the world.

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