Teen Blood Donors at Higher Risk for Complications

May 20, 2008

Compared with donors in other age groups, teen blood donors have a higher incidence of adverse reactions to donation, researchers report in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with donors in other age groups, teen blood donors have a higher incidence of adverse reactions to donation, researchers report in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Anne F. Eder, M.D., Ph.D., of the American Red Cross in Washington D.C., and colleagues analyzed data from nine American Red Cross regions on 145,678 donors aged 16 to 17 years, 113,307 donors aged 18 to 19 years and 1,517,460 donors aged 20 and older. The complication rate for each of the three groups of donors was 10.7 percent, 8.3 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

The researchers report that, apart from young age, first-time donation and female sex had the strongest association with adverse reactions. The youngest group of donors were the most likely to have syncope-related falls, with 5.9/10,000 collections recorded versus 2.4/10,000 collections for the 18 to 19 year olds and 0.4/10,000 collections for the adults. Even minor complications were likely to deter 16-year-old donors from donating again within the following 12 months.

"Blood centers have an obligation to constantly monitor risks of blood donation, and to make a concerted and committed effort to achieve the lowest possible rate of complications," the authors write. "Although zero risk may not be attainable even in adults, the rate of complications in minors calls for ongoing attention to a sustained operational effort that is continually focused on donation safety.

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