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Transfusion. 2013 Feb;53(2):322-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03788.x. Epub 2012 Jul 15.

A study of the predonation hemoglobin and iron status among Hong Kong Chinese blood donors.

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Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Hong Kong SAR, China.



Predonation hemoglobin (PDH) is used to safeguard donors' welfare, and low hemoglobin (Hb) is known to be the most frequent reason for donor deferral. A study was initiated to assess the PDH and iron status of blood donors in Hong Kong.


This observational study was designed with four groups of whole blood donors invited (group 1-eligible first time donors, group 2-eligible repeat donors with zero or one donation in preceding 12 months, group 3-eligible repeat donors with at least two donations in preceding 12 months, group 4-repeat donors being deferred for low PDH). Predonation blood samples were obtained for blood counts and iron status. Mann-Whitney test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and chi-square test for trend were applied for statistical analysis.


A total of 836 donors were recruited, of which 35 were excluded because of hemoglobinopathy. An inverse relationship between serum ferritin level and number of donations in the preceding 12 months was observed in both sexes. Iron deficiency was significantly seen in 35.1% of male and 65.3% of female deferred donors. More importantly, up to 7.2, 5.8, and 29.5% of the female donors in groups 1, 2, and 3 were found to be iron deficient despite having a high enough PDH.


This is the first study to assess PDH and iron status in Chinese blood donors. Iron depletion is noted with increasing number of blood donations in the preceding 12 months. Advice on iron repletion is a necessary step for donor welfare and strategies should be developed to ensure that donors have adequate PDH.

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