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Transfusion. 2013 Feb;53(2):337-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03810.x. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

The influence of adverse reactions, subjective distress, and anxiety on retention of first-time blood donors.

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  • 1Unit Donor Studies, Sanquin Research, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



This study investigated the effects of adverse events (i.e., needle reactions, fatigue, and vasovagal reactions) and feelings of distress and anxiety on retention of first-time blood donors. All effects were explored separately for men and women.


First-time blood donors (n = 2438) received a questionnaire, asking them about their experience of adverse events, subjective distress, and anxiety at their first donation. Provision of a second donation was checked approximately 18 months later. After exclusion of nonresponders and donors who did not experience an adverse event, 1278 first-time donors were included in the logistic regression analyses.


Nine percent of donors who experienced an adverse event at their first donation did not return for a second donation. Vasovagal reactions decreased retention in both males and females (men-odds ratio [OR], 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23-0.89; women-OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.51-0.98). Fatigue decreased retention in males only (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.42-0.91), and subjective distress decreased retention in females only (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.65-0.92).


In addition to decreasing vasovagal reactions, retention interventions could productively target coping with fatigue and reducing subjective distress after adverse reactions.

© 2012 American Association of Blood Banks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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