Visits to general practitioners after iron-related deferrals from blood donation in middle-aged and older Australian blood donors

Surendra Karki, Tanya E. Davison, Bette Liu, Katy Bell, John K. Olynyk, Andrew Hayen, David O. Irving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) advises donors to visit their general practitioner (GP) for medical follow-up if they are deferred from donating due to having a lower than acceptable level of hemoglobin (Hb) and/or serum ferritin (iron-related deferrals). Methods: We used the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study data linked to Lifeblood's donor datasets and other health administrative datasets. We examined the rate of visits to a GP after iron-related deferral from donation, and investigated whether an early visit to a GP (within 30 days following the deferral) had an impact on return to make successful donation within 12, 18, and 24 months compared to a delayed or no GP visit. Results: A total of 1928 donors underwent iron-related deferral. The rate of visits to a GP in the first month after deferral was double the rate observed a month prior. However, only 52.4% of those deferred visited a GP early with slightly more than half of those receiving an iron-monitoring test. Return to donate over the 24 months was lower in donors visiting their GP early (adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR] 0.86, 95% CI 0.77–0.97). Early GP visitors were likely to have a relatively poorer health than the delayed or no GP visit group. Conclusions: Only half of the donors with an iron-related deferral followed advice from Lifeblood and visited their GP within 30 days of deferral, and these donors have a significantly reduced likelihood of future successful blood donation which may be due to their relatively poorer health status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3335–3343
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • blood donor
  • deferral
  • health
  • iron-deficiency

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