Donor deferral and resulting donor loss at the American Red Cross Blood Services, 2001 through 2006

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

A large number of blood donors are deferred each year and many of the temporarily deferred donors do not return to donate blood. This study analyzed actual deferral and return donation data from the American Red Cross to further assess the impact of donor deferral on donor availability.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS

Voluntary blood donors who presented between 2001 and 2006 were included in this study. Deferred donors were classified into three groups according to their history of presentation during the prior 2 years: Group 1 with no prior donation or deferral, Group 2 with prior donation but no deferral, and Group 3 with prior deferral. Temporarily deferred donors in Groups 1 and 2 who did not return during the next 3 years were considered lost donors. All indefinitely deferred donors were lost donors.

RESULTS

A mean of 12.8 percent of a total of 47,814,370 donor presentations between 2001 and 2006 resulted in a deferral. While majority of the deferrals were related to donor safety reasons, deferrals for recipient safety reasons accounted for 22.6 percent of deferrals or 2.9 percent of total presentations. Temporary and indefinite deferrals for recipient safety-related reasons collectively caused an estimated loss of 647,828 donors during the 6 years. An additional 1,042,743 donors were lost due to deferrals for donor safety-related reasons during the same period.

CONCLUSIONS

The results on donor loss after deferral call attention to the impact of donor deferrals on donor availability and the need to monitor and assess the necessity and effectiveness of such deferrals.

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