Regular high-frequency whole blood donation and risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older blood donors in Australia
School of Medical and Health Sciences
National Health and Medical Research Council
NHMRC Numbers : 1174523, 2008454
Background: Previous mixed findings on the associations between whole blood (WB) donation and risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) may in part reflect inadequate adjustment for the “healthy donor effect” (HDE). Methods: We used the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study linked with blood donation history and other health-related databases to examine the association between regular, high-frequency WB donation and the risk of CVD. To mitigate the impact of HDE, we used a “5-years qualification period,” in which donors must donate at least 1 WB donation in the 1st and 5th year of “qualification period.” We then compared the risk of CVD in the years following the “qualification period” between the regular high-frequency WB donors ( ≥ 2 WB donation in each qualification year) and others using Cox proportional-hazards models. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders, such as sociodemographic, lifestyle, and health-related variables, and results are reported separately for male and female donors. Results: A total of 2736 male and 2917 female donors were included in the analyses. The median years of follow-up per donor was 5.84 years (Q1-Q3, 5.47–6.23). The rate of CVD hospitalization was 11.20 and 4.50 per 1000 person-years for males and females, respectively. In fully adjusted models, the risk (hazard ratio) of CVD in regular high-frequency donors compared to other donors was 0.93 (95% Confidence Interval (CI), 0.68–1.29) for males and 0.79 (95% CI, 0.49–1.28) for females. Conclusions: We did not observe a statistically significant reduction of CVD risk in regular, high-frequency WB donors when adjusted for potential confounders.