Blood donors, iron deficiency and supplementation options - Will clinical trials help moving forward?

Frequent whole blood donors have an acknowledged increased risk of developing iron deficiency [1–3]; recent evidence has made clear that iron deficiency may exist despite donors presenting with a hemoglobin pre-donation test within the commonly accepted values. Not only female donors [4–6] but also male blood donors are exposed to this risk [7]. Further, not only whole blood and erythrocyte apheresis donors are subjected to it [8], but also frequent platelet and plasma donors [9–11]. This is calling for further definitions in the transfusion medicine glossary, to implement “iron deficiency” in addition to anemia, and to precisely define what “frequent donation” is.