Impact of informing donors of low ferritin results

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Informing donors of their ferritin status is one possible mitigating strategy to reduce iron deficiency in donors.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

We evaluated the impact of informing donors of their ferritin status on their donation frequency, understanding of iron needs, and actions to improve iron intake 2 years after their inclusion in a prospective observational cohort study.

RESULTS:

Informing donors of low ferritin results decreased return rate in first-time and repeat donors, and the median number of donations declined from three to two donations/year in returning donors with low ferritin on index donation compared to an increase from 1.5 to 2.5 donations/year in donors with normal ferritin. An electronic questionnaire demonstrated that approximately 60% of low ferritin donors saw their primary medical practitioner, and half of this group started iron. Qualitative interviews revealed suboptimal understanding of iron needs and poor compliance with iron supplementation.

CONCLUSION:

Providing donors with results of ferritin testing may reduce return rates and donation frequency in the 2 years after testing. Simply providing donors with ferritin results and an information sheet is often inadequate to improve donors' understanding of iron needs and may not lead to a substantive increase in iron intake over time.

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