Repeat whole blood donors with a ferritin level of 30 mu g/L or less show functional iron depletion

Angelique Dijkstra*, Katja van den Hurk, Henk J. G. Bilo, Robbert J. Slingerland, Michel J. Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

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    BACKGROUND: Whole blood donors are screened for iron depletion through hemoglobin measurement alone or in combination with ferritin. Ferritin measurement gives the advantage of earlier detection of iron depletion. In a previous study we identified a ferritin level of 30 mu g/L or less as a possible indicator of suboptimal erythropoiesis. In this study, erythropoietic parameters were measured to determine if a ferritin level of 30 mu g/L or less is indicative of iron-deficient erythropoiesis in repeat whole blood donors.

    STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty-one healthy male repeat whole blood donors were divided into two groups according to their predonation ferritin values: 30 mu g/L or less (low-ferritin group) and greater than 30 mu g/L (normal-ferritin group). Ferritin and erythropoietic parameters were measured before whole blood donation and weekly in the 8 weeks after donation.

    RESULTS: A significantly lower value was found for hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), reticulocytes, and reticulocyte hemoglobin content on at least three of the nine time points in the low-ferritin group compared to the normal-ferritin group (p <0.05). Of these parameters, MCV and reticulocyte hemoglobin content were significantly lower before donation as well as during all 8 weeks following donation (p <0.05).

    CONCLUSION: Based on the lower values of the erythropoietic parameters in the low-ferritin group, it can be concluded that repeat whole blood donors with a ferritin value of 30 mu g/L or less have iron-deficient erythropoiesis and therefore require a longer donation interval than the current 56 days.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-25
    Number of pages5
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan-2019


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