Demographic variations in blood donor deferrals in a major metropolitan area.
BACKGROUND: Presenting blood donors are screened to ensure both their safety and that of the recipients of blood products. Donors with identified risks are deferred from donating blood either temporarily or permanently. Minorities are underrepresented as donors in the United States and this may in part be a result of increased donor deferral rates in minorities compared to white individuals. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Data consisted of deferred and successful blood donor presentations to the American Red Cross Southern Region in the metropolitan Atlanta area in 2004 to 2008. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted by race/ethnicity, age group, and sex. RESULTS: A total of 586,159 voluntary donor presentations occurred in 2004 to 2008, of which 79,214 (15.6%) resulted in deferral. In the age 16 to 69 years subset (98.3% of the presentations), deferred presentations were mostly women (78.2%). The most common reason for donor deferral was low hemoglobin (62.6%). The donor deferral rate varied by race/ethnicity, age, and sex: whites (11.1%), Hispanics (14.1%), and African Americans (17.9%); 16- to 19-year-olds (17.0%) and 50- to 59-year-olds (11.7%); and females (20.0%) and males (6.2%). Compared to whites and Hispanics, African American females had the highest deferral rate in each age group. CONCLUSIONS: Minorities are disproportionately impacted by blood donor deferrals. Methods to decrease blood donor deferral rates among African Americans are needed.
Shaz, BH; James, AB; Hillyer, KL; Schreiber, GB; Hillyer, CD
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