• 1 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malays J Pathol, 2002 Dec;24(2):99-102.
PMID: 12887168


Iron deficiency is a major complication of regular blood donation as a result of regular iron loss from each donated blood unit. Ninety-two regular blood donors and 95 first time blood donors attending a hospital-based blood transfusion centre were assessed as to their haematological and iron status by blood counts and serum ferritin levels as an indicator of iron stores. All donors had passed the haemoglobin-screening test using a copper sulphate method prior to blood donation. Ferritin levels were found to be significantly lower among regular blood donors (47.8 mmol/L) as compared to first time blood donors (94.2 mmol/L). Iron deficiency as observed by low ferritin levels was seen in 7.4% of all first time donors as compared to 17.4% in regular donors. Male first time donors showed a low prevalence of iron deficiency but the prevalence significantly increased with regular blood donation. Female first time and regular blood donors however did not show any significant differences in prevalence of iron deficiency, with both groups exhibiting prevalence rates similar to male regular donors. The association between haemoglobin levels and iron deficiency was poor and the copper sulphate-screening test was found insensitive to anaemia with many donors passing the test and donating blood despite being anaemic. It is concluded that a high prevalence of iron deficiency is present among regular male blood donors and all female donors. Besides, the use of the copper sulphate screening test as a sole criterion for anaemia screening should be reviewed. Ferritin measurements should be included in the routine assessment of blood donors especially among regular blood donors.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.