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Vox Sang. 2011 Nov;101(4):303-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2011.01494.x. Epub 2011 May 3.

Factors associated with fainting: before, during and after whole blood donation.

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Blood Systems, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ, USA.


BACKGROUND  Whole blood (WB) donation encompasses several periods during which some donors faint. Identification of factors associated with fainting during each period should guide intervention strategies. Reducing faint reactions may reduce donor injuries and disability. METHODS  Blood donation was divided into three periods: Period 1 - registration; Period 2 - phlebotomy; and Period 3 - post-phlebotomy. Period 3 consists of two sub-periods (3A - on-site and 3B - off-site). For each Period, stratified rates of fainting in relation to various donor and donation characteristics were calculated and multivariable logistic regression analyses to identify factors associated with fainting were conducted. Donor injuries in each period were also analysed. RESULTS  Of the 956 766 donors registered in 2007, 554 534 (58%) donated WB. There were 43 fainting episodes and two injuries in Period 1 and 1520 faints and 73 injuries in Periods 2 and 3. Regression analyses showed that youth and donor first-time status are associated with fainting in all periods; but most significantly in Period 1. Small estimated blood volume is notably not a factor in Period 1 but is significant in Periods 2 and 3. The highest injury rate is seen in Period 3A (0·07 and 0·09/1000 donations) for male and female donors, respectively. CONCLUSIONS  Variability in factors associated with fainting across defined periods of the donation process suggest differing underlying mechanisms and the possibility that interventions for the reactions most associated with injury during each time period can be designed. The highest rate of injury per donation occurred in ambulating donors.

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