Impact of informing donors of low ferritin results

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


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.


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.


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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