Age, sex and donation frequency are known risk factors for low iron levels in blood donors. To identify other risk factors of low iron levels, 12,683 blood donors from 4 US blood centers were examined longitudinally. The study enrolled 8,439 white Caucasian blood donors along with 1,605 African-American, 1,616 Asian, and 1,023 Hispanic donors. Based on data presented at the AABB Annual Meeting in San Diego this month, 19% of all donors enrolled had absent iron stores (AIS, ferritin <12 ng/ml), and 42% had low ferritin levels (ferritin <26 ng/ml). Expected patterns were observed with regard to age, sex and donation frequency. However, ethnicity was also an important risk factor for low iron levels. Both African Americans and Asians had about a 20% decrease in risk of AIS, but Hispanic donors had a 25% higher risk of AIS compared to white Caucasians. Factors that reduced the risk of AIS in females included daily iron supplementation (OR=0.59; 95% CI, 0.52-0.66) and hormone therapy (OR=0.85; 95% CI, 0.72-1.0). Hormone use in males, however, increased their risk for AIS (OR=2.29; 95% CI, 1.35-3.89). A “one-size-fits-all approach” may not be best for ensuring all blood donors have adequate iron stores.
Spencer BR, Guo Y, Cable RG et al. for the NHLBI Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDs-III). Abstract # PG-A03A. Iron status and novel risk factors for iron depletion in a diverse donor population. Transfusion 2017; 57 Supplement S3; 4A-5A.