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Transfusion. 2012 Apr;52(4):712-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03353.x. Epub 2011 Sep 26.

Demographics of successful, unsuccessful and deferral visits at six blood centers over a 4-year period.

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Blood Systems Research Institute and UCSF, San Francisco, California 94118, USA.



Descriptions of donor demographics are of value in formulating recruitment and retention strategies. The demographics of successful (SV), unsuccessful (UV; meaning a nonuseable unit), and deferred (DV) donor visits over a 4-year period were investigated using Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study (REDS)-II databases.


Fourteen deferral categories were created that included low hematocrit (Hct) or hemoglobin (Hb), feeling unwell, malaria travel, malaria other, couldn't wait, blood pressure or pulse, medical diagnosis, medication, test results, higher-risk behavior, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), CJD, needle exposure or tattoo, and other. Rates per 10,000 donor presentations were determined for each category globally and for six subcategorizations (first-time or repeat donor status, sex, race/ethnicity, age, education, and fixed or mobile donation location). Deferral rates were also calculated on simultaneous stratifications of donor status, sex, and race/ethnicity.


Of 5,607,922 donor presentations there were 4,553,145 SVs (81.2%), 302,828 UVs (5.4%), and 751,381 DVs (13.4%). Overall rates of deferral ranged from 0.6 per 10,000 presentations for CJD, human growth hormone, or dura mater exposure to 777 per 10,000 presentations for low Hct or Hb. Deferral rates were remarkably different by first-time or repeat donor status, sex, race/ethnicity, and other demographics. The highest overall deferral rate was 3953 per 10,000 presentations, or nearly 40% in first-time, female, Asian donors, and the lowest rate was 5.6% in repeat, male, white donors.


Successful donation visits according to demographic characteristics need to be placed within the context of all donor visits. Deferral rates indicate that the burden of donor deferral is high. Efforts to expand the diversity of the donor base through recruitment of minority donors may bring additional challenges because certain deferral reasons were proportionally much higher in these groups.

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