Background: Individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders are restricted from donating blood because of concern that they are prone to adverse donor reactions such as syncope and convulsions. A study evaluating whether that concern is warranted is reported. Study Design and Methods: During a 2-year period beginning in 1987, blood donors in Maryland with a history of seizures were actively recruited by the American Red Cross. Adverse donor reactions were classified as 'slight,' indicating dizziness and nausea without loss of consciousness; 'moderate,' denoting syncope; and 'severe,' indicating convulsive syncope. Results: There were 329,143 satisfactory blood donations; 613 individuals reporting a history of seizures donated blood a total of 723 times. Among donors with seizures, 186 (35.7%) were taking antiepileptic medication, and 61 (8.4%) had had one or more seizures in the preceding year. Individuals with seizures had a low incidence of adverse reactions (3.34%). Although this incidence was slightly higher than that in the entire population (2.24%), the difference was not significant. In particular, the risk of syncope with or without convulsive activity was low for people with seizures (0.21%) and not significantly greater than that in other donors (0.28%). Conclusion: Individuals with seizures or epilepsy are not at greater risk for adverse reactions after blood donation, and major restrictions on their participation as blood donors are not warranted.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1995|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy