“Eat your green veggies! Have a steak every now and then, for goodness’ sake!” We’ve been telling blood donors things like that for decades, but what if this advice isn’t really all that helpful? Dr. Jed Gorlin shows us the recent, troubling news on iron and blood donors, with:

Five Essential Facts on Blood Donors and Iron

Jed Gorlin, MD

In recent years, several excellent studies have demonstrated pretty clearly that blood donors have limited iron stores, and that the process of blood donation impacts those stores pretty dramatically. This is particularly true in several very well-defined groups of donors, including: Frequent whole blood donors (males donating more than three times in a year, females more than twice per year), premenopausal females, and young donors (especially teenagers) of both sexes. In the United States, donors may give blood every 8 weeks (up to 5 or 6 times per year), and up until recently, both males and females had the same 12.5 g/dL, or 125 g/L qualifying hemoglobin to determine their eligibility (NOTE: The U.S. threshold was adjusted upward to 13.0 g/dL for males in 2016). Many other countries are more restrictive, and the topic of iron status of our blood donors is a very “hot” one right now!

This is an extremely important discussion, as blood centers everywhere are struggling to collect as much blood as has been collected in the past. It may be tempting to depend on donors in certain “easy to collect” groups, and those include donors at high risk outlined above! So, what to do? Dr. Gorlin has been heavily involved in these discussions, and he brings a unique perspective to this interview. He describes the relevant studies (linked in the “Further Reading” section below), and walks us through the steps that blood collectors (and donors) should take right away.

Download a transcript of this episode!

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Jed Gorlin received his BS from Stanford and his MD from Yale. He is board-certified in pediatrics and blood banking/transfusion medicine. He is Medical Director and Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs of Memorial Blood Centers and Nebraska Community Blood Bank, both divisions of Innovative Blood Resources. Dr. Gorlin has served in various leadership roles with AABB through his more than 20 years in transfusion medicine, including chair of the Standards Committee for the 20th and 21st editions of AABB Standards, and as an AABB board member. He is a chapter contributor to 16 published books and anthologies, and author or co-author of over 40 abstracts.

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this episode are those of my guest and I alone, and do not reflect those of the organizations with which either of us is affiliated. Neither Dr. Gorlin nor I have any financial disclosures relevant to this discussion.

The images below are generously provided by Dr. Gorlin.

References Mentioned During this Episode:

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