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Heart. 1997 Aug;78(2):188-93.

Possible association of a reduction in cardiovascular events with blood donation.

Author information

1
Department of Internal Medicine, Kansas University College of Medicine, Kansas City 66160-7378, USA. dmeyers@kumc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The iron hypothesis suggests that females are protected from atherosclerosis by having lower iron stores than men, thus limiting oxidation of lipids.

OBJECTIVE:

To test the iron hypothesis by comparing cardiovascular event rates in whole blood donors compared with nondonors.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort with telephone survey follow up.

SETTING:

The State of Nebraska, USA.

PARTICIPANTS:

A sample was selected from the Nebraska Diet Heart Survey (NDHS) restricting for age > or = 40 years and absence of clinically apparent vascular diseases at time of enrollment in to NDHS (1985-87).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The occurrence of cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, angina, stroke), procedures (angioplasty, bypass surgery, claudication, endarterectomy), nitroglycerin use, or death (all cause mortality), and level of blood donation.

RESULTS:

Participants were 655 blood donors and 3200 non-donors who differed in education, physical activity, diabetes, and frequency of antihypertensive treatment; 889 were lost to follow up. Sixty four donors and 567 non-donors reported cardiovascular events (crude odds ratio = 0.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38-0.66). The benefit of donation was confined to non-smoking males (adjusted odds ratio 0.67, 95% CI 0.45-0.99). Benefit was limited to current donors (the most recent three years). No additional benefit resulted from donating more than once or twice over three years.

CONCLUSION:

In support of the iron hypothesis, blood donation in non-smoking men in this cohort was associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events. A randomised clinical trial is warranted to confirm these findings as the observed personal health benefit of donation has public policy ramifications.

PMID:
9326996
PMCID:
PMC484902
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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