WCBS Plans to Start Donor Ferritin Testing

We are excited to announce that WCBS will be implementing ferritin testing in all blood donors during the course of 2022. Iron deficiency is known to be a relatively common complication of regular blood donation, so this initiative hopes to identify these donors, advise them to seek medical attention and defer them from donating for a specified period of time.

While haemoglobin screening using point-of-care Hemocue® devices is routinely performed for all blood donors, this may not identify donors who are iron deficient but not yet anaemic. The current haemoglobin cut-off levels are 12.5 g/dl for women and 13.5 g/dl for men, and we currently offer iron tablets to all donors as replacement therapy.

Ferritin testing will be performed on the donor’s first donation and every fourth donation thereafter. Results that are less than 5g/dl or greater than 500g/dl will be sent by text message to the donor to encourage them to investigate this further with their own doctor. Donors whose ferritin levels fall between these values will not be contacted. We hope to have the programme up and running by mid-2022.

For more information about the donor ferritin testing programme, please contact Russell Cable, Head – Donation Testing (russell@wcbs.org.za) or Dr Caroline Hilton, Head – Medical Division (caroline@wcbs.org.za). 


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