n South African Medical Journal - Shielding blood donors from harm : correspondence

Volume 104, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Eric Klug's letter in the June is particularly topical, as haemovigilance programmes have extended to include donor health in recent years. Considerable attention has focused on the effects of regular blood donation on iron stores, and consequent risks of iron depletion and iron deficiency anaemia. There is little doubt that frequent blood donation may result in reduced iron stores. It is also important to note that haemoglobin (Hb) levels may remain relatively normal in spite of reduced iron stores, although changes in the red cell indices may be helpful in suggesting iron deficiency. Females of childbearing age are most at risk of iron depletion due to menstruation, pregnancy, a lower body mass and lower oral iron intake.

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