In order to determine if demographic changes impact both blood supply and demand, researchers in Germany organized a prospective, 10-year longitudinal study from 2005 to 2015 in a region that has undergone many demographic changes since reunification in 1989. The ratio of the population aged 18 to 64 years (encompassing the majority of blood donors) compared to those aged >65 years has declined significantly, mimicking changes that are projected to occur in many westernized countries as life expectancy increases and birth rates decrease. Based on projections made in 2005, blood donations directly correlated with demographic changes decreasing by 18% (compared to a projected decrease of 23%). Transfusion demand, however, was highly influenced by changing medical practices, including restrictive transfusion policies, and was >20% lower than projected. Ensuring that the blood supply adequately meets transfusion demands is dependent on many variables, and understanding how demographic changes affect the blood supply is essential.
Greinacher A, Weitmann K, Schonborn L, et al. A population-based longitudinal study on the implication of demographic changes on blood donation and transfusion demand. Blood Advances 2017; 1(14): 867-874.