Image: A new study claims donating blood every two months is completely safe (Photo courtesy of blooddonations.org).
Blood can be safely donated as often as every eight weeks without having a major effect on donors’ quality of life, physical activity, or cognitive function, claims a new study.
Researchers at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), and other institutions conducted a study involving 45,263 whole blood donors (22,466 men, 22,797 women) aged 18 years or older from 25 donation centers across England. By use of a computer-based algorithm, men were randomly assigned to 12-week (standard), 10-week, or 8-week inter-donation intervals, while women were randomly assigned to 16-week (standard), 14-week, or 12-week intervals.
The primary outcome was number of donations over two years. Secondary outcomes (related to safety) were quality of life, symptoms potentially related to donation, physical activity, cognitive function, hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations, and deferrals because of low hemoglobin. The results showed that in men, compared with the standard group, the mean amount of blood collected per donor over two years increased by 1.69 units in the 8-week group and by 0.79 units in the 10-week group. In women, donations increased by 0.84 units in the 12-week group and by 0.46 units in the 14-week group.
No significant differences were observed in quality of life, physical activity, or cognitive function across randomized groups. However, more frequent donation resulted in more donation-related symptoms, such as tiredness, breathlessness, feeling faint, dizziness, and restless legs, lower mean hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations, and more deferrals for low hemoglobin than those observed in the standard frequency groups. The study was published on September 20, 2017, in The Lancet.
“This study suggests that more frequent blood donation is a feasible and safe option for donors in the UK, and gives blood services the short-term option of more frequent collection from donors if the supply falls or demand rises,” said senior author Professor John Danesh, of the University of Cambridge. “Our data give blood services the short-term option of more frequent collection from donors if the supply falls or demand rises.”
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge