AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Patient-related blood donors contribute to a significant proportion of the blood units collected in hospital-based blood banks. However, there is some concern on the safety of this kind of donation because of the possible existence of incentives for the donor to conceal deferrable risk factors, thus increasing the risk of donation within the window-period of transfusion-transmitted infections. We tested the hypothesis that if patient-related blood donors are less safe than community ones, the former would display both a higher prevalence of viral markers and a predominance of undisclosed risk-factors with low social acceptability. DESIGN AND METHODS: Comparison of virus reactivity rates against hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and the associated risk-factors, between patient-related and community donors who donated whole blood in our center during a five-year period. RESULTS: During the period under study 72,226 donors gave 149,944 whole blood units, of which 22,888 (15.3%) were provided by patient-related donors. There were 273 confirmed virus-reactive donations (15 anti-HIV, 148 anti-HCV and 110 HBsAg). The adjusted prevalence of virus reactivity was 19 (95% CI: 11-35) times higher in first-time donors than in repeat donors, 3.5 (95% CI: 2.3-4.1) times higher in donors > or = 30 years old than in younger ones, and 2.5 (95% CI: 1.9-3.2) times higher in patient-related donors than in community donors. With regard to deferrable risk-factors not disclosed at the time of donation, there was no significant difference between patient-related and community donors in the frequency of people who denied any risk-factor or who admitted intravenous drug use or high-risk sex. Past household contact with individuals having liver disease was significantly more frequent in patient-related donors than in community ones. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: Our results do not support the hypothesis that patient-related donors represent an increased risk of window-period donation because they conceal deferrable risk factors more frequently than community donors.
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Vol. 87 No. 4 (2002): April, 2002 : Comparative Studies
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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