Recommended Interventions to Reduce the Risk of Iron Deficiency in Blood Donors


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Numerous studies indicate that US blood donors, especially women, have a high prevalence of iron deficiency. Iron is lost with each blood donation, and since donors are eligible to donate blood every eight weeks, it is a challenge to maintain iron balance in frequent blood donors. Prior to blood donations, donors are screened for anemia but not for iron deficiency. Several interventions have been considered to address this public health issue including deferral from donation due to decreased iron stores measured by ferritin levels, iron replacement therapy, education for donors regarding their iron status, extension of inter-donation interval, and restriction of number of donations within a year. A combined approach of education, to encourage donors to take iron supplements and to seek the care of their physicians when necessary, and iron replacement therapy, to replace the iron lost in blood donation, is recommended to address this public health issue.



Iron, Iron deficiency, Blood donors