Regular Blood Donation: May Reduce Hypertension and Save Lives

Sep 1, 2016 | Justin Kreuter | @KreuterMD

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A recent study in the medical journal, Transfusion, found an association between blood donation and lowered blood pressure. Researchers studied approximately 300 whole blood donors over the course of 12 months. Approximately half of the blood donors had elevated blood pressure at the beginning of the study, defined as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHG. Donors gave between 1 and 4 times over the 12-month study.

Interestingly, each donation was associated with a stepwise reduction in the donor’s blood pressure. As a result, those with blood pressures greater than 160/100 who donated 4 times experienced the greatest reduction.

In the same issue of Transfusion, another study reported survival data after ultramassive transfusion.

Ultramassive transfusion was defined as 20 or more red cell transfusions over any two-day period. Needless to say, these large bleeds are typically unexpected occurrences that can rapidly consume the blood inventory at a hospital. When these occur, often blood collection programs like us will issue a special plea for blood donors of certain blood type.

These researchers report that even after consuming many blood products, overall survivability during the subsequent 30 days was 60 percent. Although survival did vary among patient populations, the message is that receiving a significant amount of blood is not indicative of futility.

Reflecting on the results of these two studies, donating blood may have health benefits for the donor and gives someone in our community a chance at life. None of these patients needing an ultramassive transfusion would have survived without the generosity of blood donors. Until we are able to manufacture blood, donors enable these patients to have that chance.

Please contact us today to schedule your donation appointment!

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Blood Donor Program blog.

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