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Transfusion. 2017 Mar;57(3):564-570. doi: 10.1111/trf.13956. Epub 2016 Dec 9.

A large national study of ferritin testing in Canadian blood donors.

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Canadian Blood Services, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



We assessed risk groups for iron deficiency and the feasibility and efficacy of ferritin testing in a large blood center.


Donors were informed of possible testing in the predonation pamphlet. Plasma ferritin was measured on retention samples (n = 12,595) from representative clinics. Low-ferritin donors (<25 µg/L) were sent a letter and information sheet and not called for 6 months. Ferritin testing was repeated on 25% of donors; donor return rate and frequency were monitored.


Low-ferritin donors represented 2.9% of first-time and reactivated (no donation in past 12 months) male donors, 32.2% of first-time and reactivated female donors, 41.6% of repeat male donors, and 65.1% of repeat female donors. A mean of 11.7 months after index donation, the return rate was 76% for normal and 58% for low-ferritin donors; returning low-ferritin donors had made approximately one fewer donation. Ferritin increased by 16.3 and 12.1 µg/L in male and female low-ferritin donors and decreased by 17 µg/L in male and female normal-ferritin donors.


The minimum hemoglobin level will be increased to 130 g/L for male donors and the minimum interdonation interval changed to 84 days (four donations yearly) for female donors based on iron deficiency risk groups. Large-scale ferritin testing was feasible. Donors informed of low-ferritin results had a lower return rate, donated less often, and had an increase in ferritin on return, approximately 1 year after initial testing, compared to donors with normal ferritin results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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