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Heart. 2019 Mar 14. pii: heartjnl-2018-314138. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2018-314138. [Epub ahead of print]

Cardiovascular risk in 159 934 frequent blood donors while addressing the healthy donor effect.

Author information

1
Department of Donor Medicine Research - Donor Studies, Sanquin Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam UMC - Location AMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Department for Health Evidence, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
5
Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Scientific Center for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate whether regular blood donation decreases cardiovascular risk.

METHODS:

All 159 934 Dutch whole-blood donors with an active donation career of at least 10 years were categorised into sex-specific donation tertiles based on the number of donations during this 10-year qualification period. Cardiovascular endpoints were based on hospital discharge diagnoses and death certificates from Dutch Hospital Data and Statistics Netherlands and occurring after the 10-year qualification period. Cox regression was used to estimate the age-adjusted and starting year-adjusted hazard rate ratio (HRR).

RESULTS:

Female high-frequency blood donors had a reduced cardiovascular morbidity (HRR=0.91, 95% CI 0.85 to 0.98) compared with low-frequency blood donors. No effect was observed in men (HRR=1.00, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.05). To rule out a residual healthy donor effect (HDE), additional sensitivity analyses using a 5-year qualification period were conducted. The results supported the absence of a residual HDE.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study showed a protective effect of long-term, high-frequency blood donation against cardiovascular disease. This effect was only observed in women and not in men.

KEYWORDS:

blood donors; cardiac risk factors and prevention; cardiovascular diseases; epidemiology; translational cardiovascular medicine

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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