Korean J Blood Transfus.  2000 Dec;11(2):125-132.

The Effects of Long-Term Plasmapheresis on the Iron Status of the Donors

  • 1Red Cross Seoul Nambu Blood Center, Korean National Red Cross.
  • 2Blood Transfusion Reserch Institute, Korean National Red Cross.
  • 3Department of Clinical Pathology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul Korea.


We found that intensive and long-term plasmapheresis might be responsible for iron depletion of donors in our previous study. So we examined 88 multi-time and 44 first-time donors to investigate the effects of long-term plasmapheresis on the iron status of the body.
Eighty eight donors who had never donated whole blood or donated plasma only regularly over a period of 5 years were selected. They were divided into group 1, 2 and 3 by donation interval and group A, B and C by the number of plasmapheresis per year. Fifty eight of them had follow-up data after the donation. Whole blood was taken from the donors before plasmapheresis by the Fenwal Autopheresis-C system. Each sample was assayed for serum ferritin, iron, TIBC and transferrin saturation. RESLUTS: For serum ferritin, iron, TIBC and transferrin saturation, the mean values of multi-time donors were in the normal range but significantly lower than those of first-time donors. Twenty four (27.3%) multi-time donors had either less than 10 ng/mL of serum ferritin or less than 16% of transferrin saturation. Six donors had the lower values of both serum ferritin and transferrin saturation. Among 88 multi-time donors, there were significant differences between groups. Group 1 with the shortest donation interval had significantly lower ferritin value than the other groups. Group C with the highest donation frequency had significantly lower ferritin, TIBC and transferrin saturation values than the other groups. The results for the follow-up data of 58 donors were similar to those for the initial data.
The donation intervals and the frequency of plasmapheresis influence body iron status of donors. So intensive and long-term plasmapheresis may result in iron depletion in donors. Consequently, a more sophisticated donor screening system to prevent iron depletion in intensive and long-term plasmapheresis donors should be established.


Long-term plasmapheresis; ferritin; iron; TIBC; transferrin saturation
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