Iron replacement therapy in the routine management of blood donors

Department of Transfusion Medicine, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Transfusion (Impact Factor: 3.23). 12/2011; 52(7):1566-75. DOI: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03488.x
Source: PubMed


Iron depletion or deficiency in blood donors frequently results in deferrals for low hemoglobin (Hb), yet blood centers remain reluctant to dispense iron replacement therapy to donors.
During a 39-month period, 1236 blood donors deferred for a Hb level of less than 12.5 g/dL and 400 nondeferred control donors underwent health history screening and laboratory testing (complete blood counts, iron studies). Iron depletion and deficiency were defined as a ferritin level of 9 to 19 and less than 9 µg/L in females and 18 to 29 and less than 18 µg/L in males. Deferred donors and iron-deficient control donors were given a 60-pack of 325-mg ferrous sulfate tablets and instructed to take one tablet daily. Another 60-pack was dispensed at all subsequent visits.
In the low-Hb group, 30 and 23% of females and 8 and 53% of males had iron depletion or deficiency, respectively, compared with 29 and 10% of females and 18 and 21% of males in the control group. Iron-depleted or -deficient donors taking iron showed normalization of iron-related laboratory parameters, even as they continued to donate. Compliance with oral iron was 68%. Adverse gastrointestinal effects occurred in 21% of donors. The study identified 13 donors with serious medical conditions, including eight with gastrointestinal bleeding. No donors had malignancies or hemochromatosis.
Iron depletion or deficiency was found in 53% of female and 61% of male low-Hb donors and in 39% of female and male control donors. Routine administration of iron replacement therapy is safe and effective and prevents the development of iron depletion and deficiency in blood donors.

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  • No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Transfusion
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    ABSTRACT: Background and objectives: To determine the accuracy of fingerstick haemoglobin assessment in blood donors, the performance of a portable haemoglobinometer (HemoCue Hb 201+) was prospectively compared with that of an automated haematology analyzer (Cell-Dyn 4000). Haemoglobin values obtained by the latter were used as the 'true' result. Material and methods: Capillary fingerstick samples were assayed by HemoCue in 150 donors. Fingerstick samples from two sites, one on each hand, were obtained from a subset of 50 subjects. Concurrent venous samples were tested using both HemoCue and Cell-Dyn devices. Results: Capillary haemoglobin values (HemoCue) were significantly greater than venous haemoglobin values (HemoCue), which in turn were significantly greater than venous haemoglobin values by Cell-Dyn (mean ± SD: 14.05 ± 1.51, 13.89 ± 1.31, 13.62 ± 1.23, respectively; P < 0.01 for all comparisons among groups). Nine donors (6%) passed haemoglobin screening criteria (≥ 12.5 g/dl) by capillary HemoCue, but were deferred by Cell-Dyn values (false-pass). Five donors (3%) were deferred by capillary sampling, but passed by Cell-Dyn (false-fail). Substantial variability in repeated fingerstick HemoCue results was seen (mean haemoglobin 13.72 vs. 13.70 g/dl, absolute mean difference between paired samples 0.76 g/dl). Hand dominance was not a factor. Conclusions: Capillary samples assessed via a portable device yielded higher haemoglobin values than venous samples assessed on an automated analyzer. False-pass and false-fail rates were low and acceptable in the donor screening setting, with 'true' values not differing by a clinically significant degree from threshold values used to assess acceptability for blood donation.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Vox Sanguinis
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    ABSTRACT: Pica and restless legs syndrome (RLS) are associated with iron depletion and deficiency. The presence of pica and RLS was prospectively assessed in blood donors. During a 39-month period, 1236 donors deferred for fingerstick hemoglobin (Hb) level of less than 12.5 g/dL and 400 nondeferred “control” donors underwent health screening and laboratory testing (complete blood count, ferritin, iron, transferrin). Pica and RLS were assessed by direct questioning. Deferred donors and iron-deficient control donors were given 325 mg of ferrous sulfate daily for 60 days. Reassessments were performed and additional iron tablets dispensed at subsequent visits. Pica was reported in 11% of donors with iron depletion or deficiency, compared with 4% of iron-replete donors (p < 0.0001). Pagophagia (ice pica) was most common and often of extraordinary intensity. Female sex, younger age, and lower mean cell volume and transferrin saturation values were strongly associated with pica. Donors with pica given iron reported a marked reduction in the desire to consume the nonnutritive substance by Days 5 to 8 of therapy, with disappearance of symptoms by Days 10 to 14. RLS was reported in 16% of subjects with iron depletion or deficiency compared with 11% of iron-replete donors (p = 0.012). Iron replacement generally resulted in improvement of RLS symptoms; however, at least 4 to 6 weeks of iron therapy was necessary. The presence of pica is associated with a high probability of iron depletion or deficiency in blood donors; however, RLS lacks a strong correlation in this population. Screening questions for pagophagia may be useful in the ascertainment of iron deficiency in donors and may identify those who would benefit from oral iron.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Transfusion
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