BACKGROUND: A new national donor safety initiative was introduced in Australia in 2018, which aimed to encourage all whole blood donors to water load and to use applied muscle tension. This study evaluated the effect of this initiative on the rate of vasovagal reactions (VVR).
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Routinely collected data were used to identify whole blood donations and any associated VVRs before (n = 167,056 donations) and after implementation (n = 215,572 donations). Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the differences in VVR rates.
RESULTS: The total rate of VVRs declined from 22.5 per 1000 donations to 20.6 per 1000 donations after implementation, a reduction of 8% (p < 0.001). The rate of presyncopal reactions decreased by 8% in new donors and 12% in repeat donors. No impact was observed on the rate of syncope in any of the groups. The multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated the odds of experiencing a presyncopal reaction was reduced by 13% following implementation, with no significant effects on syncope.
CONCLUSION: The findings of this study support the use of water loading and applied muscle tension in routine whole blood collection to reduce the incidence of VVRs.