The contribution and potential of older blood donors in Asia Pacific regions

AbstractObjectives

To investigate the blood supply contribution of older donors in five Asia Pacific regions.

Background

Older people are often the largest blood user group. Thus, as the population ages blood supply needs increase. Minimum and maximum donation age criteria potentially constrain the size of the donor pool.

Materials and methods

Haemoglobin values and demographic frequency analytics (sex, age and blood type) were analysed on blood donors aged 60?years or more, from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea over 12?months.

Results

Data on ?434357 donations was analysed. ABO Rh(D) frequencies of older donors matched that of national frequencies. Older donors were a disproportionately smaller proportion of the total donor pool for each country. Indonesia was the only region with no maximum age limit. Median haemoglobin for older males ranged from 14.2 to 14.8 g/dl and for females 13.1 to 13.9 g/dl. The frequency of female donors was between 15% and 33% of older donors. Older donors had higher donation frequency and lower deferral rates.

Conclusion

Older donors are loyal and regular donors but under-represented in all regions studied. They could help meet future blood supply needs, especially post-menopausal female donors. Studies including ferritin levels are needed to determine if upper age limits can be safely modified.