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Transfusion. 1995 Jun;35(6):470-4.

Adverse reactions in blood donors with a history of seizures or epilepsy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders are restricted from donating blood because of concern that they are prone to adverse donor reactions such as syncope and convulsions. A study evaluating whether that concern is warranted is reported.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

During a 2-year period beginning in 1987, blood donors in Maryland with a history of seizures were actively recruited by the American Red Cross. Adverse donor reactions were classified as "slight", indicating dizziness and nausea without loss of consciousness; "moderate," denoting syncope; and "severe," indicating convulsive syncope.

RESULTS:

There were 329,143 satisfactory blood donations; 613 individuals reporting a history of seizures donated blood a total of 723 times. Among donors with seizures, 186 (35.7%) were taking antiepileptic medication, and 61 (8.4%) had had one or more seizures in the preceding year. Individuals with seizures had a low incidence of adverse reactions (3.34%). Although this incidence was slightly higher than that in the entire population (2.24%), the difference was not significant. In particular, the risk of syncope with or without convulsive activity was low for people with seizures (0.21%) and not significantly greater than that in other donors (0.28%).

CONCLUSION:

Individuals with seizures or epilepsy are not at greater risk for adverse reactions after blood donation, and major restrictions on their participation as blood donors are not warranted.

PMID:
7770896
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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