Association of blood donation with iron deficiency among adolescent and adult females in the United States: a nationally representative study

Eshan U. Patel, Jodie L. White, Evan M. Bloch, Mary K. Grabowski, Eric A. Gehrie, Parvez M. Lokhandwala, Patricia A.R. Brunker, Ruchika Goel, Beth H. Shaz, Paul M. Ness, Aaron A.R. Tobian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Blood donation results in a loss of iron stores, which is particularly concerning for young female blood donors. This study examines the association of blood donation and iron deficiency among adolescent and adult females in the United States. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis was performed using data from the 1999–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Females who reported their blood donation history in the preceding year and had serum ferritin (SF) measurements were included. Analyses were weighted and stratified by adolescents (16–19 years; n = 2419) and adults (20–49 years; n = 7228). Adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) were estimated by multivariable Poisson regression. Standard errors were estimated by Taylor series linearization. RESULTS: Geometric mean SF levels (ng/mL) were lower in blood donors compared to nondonors among adolescents (21.2 vs. 31.4; p < 0.001) and among adults (26.2 vs. 43.7; p < 0.001). The prevalence of absent iron stores (SF < 12 ng/mL) was higher in blood donors compared to nondonors among adolescents (22.6% vs. 12.2%; aPR = 2.03 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.45–2.85]) and among adults (18.3% vs. 9.8%; aPR = 2.06 [95% CI = 1.48–2.88]). Additionally, the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (SF < 26 ng/mL and hemoglobin < 12.0 g/dL) was also higher in blood donors compared to nondonors among adolescents (9.5% vs. 6.1%; aPR = 2.10 [95% CI = 1.13–3.90]) and among adults (7.9% vs. 6.1%; aPR = 1.74 [95% CI = 1.06–2.85]). Similar results were observed in a sensitivity analysis restricted to adolescents aged 16 to 18 years. CONCLUSIONS: Blood donation is associated with iron deficiency among adolescent and adult females in the United States. These national data call for further development and implementation of blood donation practices aimed toward mitigating iron deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1723-1733
Number of pages11
JournalTransfusion
Volume59
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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