BACKGROUND:Iron deficiency is a public problem in women, which contributes to the high percentage of deferred blood donations in this group. This study evaluated the effect of iron supplementation in improving iron stores to promote safe blood donation in women.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:A total of 412 female blood donors were randomly recruited for the study. The volunteers were scheduled for an initial visit and three subsequent visits at 4-month intervals for possible repeat donation. Each volunteer was given 21 tablets of 150 mg of ferrous sulfate or placebo to be taken three times daily for 1 week after each blood donation. Their hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, hematocrit (Hct), serum ferritin, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), and percent saturation of the TIBC were tested throughout the course of the study.
RESULTS:The group taking ferrous sulfate showed no significant difference between the mean initial and final result for any of the values other than Hb values, whereas there was a significant decline in mean Hb, Hct, serum iron, serum ferritin, and percent saturation in the group taking placebo. Hb concentrations declined significantly in both groups; however, it was more severe in the placebo group when compared to the ferrous sulfate group. The relative risk of iron deficiency in placebo group was 3.6 (95% confidence interval = 1.73-7.74).
CONCLUSION:The results indicate that supplementation therapy can be considered as one of the strategies to promote safe blood donation in women. A quantity of 150 mg of elemental iron per day as ferrous sulfate, however, is not the correct dose for Iranian female donors.