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Red Cross Implements Change to Enhance Donor Safety for Younger Donors
Date:10/20/2009

New Deferral Criteria in Place

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross has implemented new height and weight requirements for all blood donors 18 years of age and younger to reduce the risk of post-donation reactions for people in this age range.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090108/RedCrossLOGO )

"We are doing this for the safety of our high school age donors," said Anne Eder, MD PhD, Executive Medical Officer, American Red Cross. "By reducing the risk of donor reactions in this donor demographic, the Red Cross may be more likely to see these new teenage donors not only return to donate, but also to recruit friends and classmates. This initiative is just the latest step in our approach to increasing donor safety and satisfaction."

While most blood donors have a positive experience and feel good about donating blood, young and first-time donors are more likely than adults to experience lightheadedness or dizziness after donation. A recent Red Cross Medical Office study showed that 16- and 17-year-old donors had the highest incidence of complications and need for medical care after donation. In light of this study, the Red Cross has made a concerted effort to reduce the risk of donor reactions in teenagers by developing a systematic approach to managing high school blood drives.

This same research also suggested that young donors who have a blood volume less than 3500 mL are more likely to have an adverse reaction. As a result, the Red Cross began implementation of gender-based height and weight eligibility requirements on September 1. All students at high school blood drives will now be evaluated based on these requirements. In addition, all donors 18 years of age and younger, regardless of w
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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