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October 15, 2008

Adverse Reactions to Blood Donation Among Adolescents

JAMA. 2008;300(15):1759-1760. doi:10.1001/jama.300.15.1760-a

To the Editor: In addition to the adverse reactions in young blood donors identified in the study by Eder et al,1 it is important to consider iron deficiency, perhaps a more significant though more insidious adverse effect of blood donation by young donors. Adolescent diets, increased iron requirements during a period of growth, and irregular and heavy menstruation may predispose teenagers, particularly females, to iron deficiency even without the added burden of blood donation.2 A recent analysis of the iron status of blood donors in New Zealand (where the minimum age for donation is 16 years and parental consent or the approval of the donor's doctor is not required) found that 19% of 415 participants younger than 20 years had serum ferritin levels less than 12 μg/L, compared with 15.6% and 10.4% of those aged 21 to 50 years and older than 51 years, respectively.3