O'Meara et al routinely monitored blood donors using the serum ferritin concentration. This can help to reduce rejections for anemia and increase return donors. The authors are from the University Hospital Basel and the Swiss Red Cross.


Donors were deferred for anemia when:

(1) hemoglobin < 133 g/L for males

(2) hemoglobin < 123 g/L in females


A donor deferred for anemia:

(1) is less likely to return to donate in the future

(2) is at increased risk for being rejected in the future if the cause is not identified and treated


In a healthy donor the serum ferritin is predictive of total iron body stores. Detection of low iron body stores allows for iron replacement therapy before iron deficiency anemia develops.


Measurement of serum ferritin was especially valuable in repeat donors who were women of childbearing (and menstruating) age.


Serum ferritin testing is beneficial for:

(1) frequent donors

(2) donors who are women of childbearing age

(3) a donor deferred for microcytic, hypochromic anemia of unknown cause after an initial evaluation for other causes of anemia


The authors used a serum ferritin < 10 ng/mL as an indication to defer donors.


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