Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research article
Cardiovascular risk in 159 934 frequent blood donors while addressing the healthy donor effect


Objective To investigate whether regular blood donation decreases cardiovascular risk.

Methods All 159 934 Dutch whole-blood donors with an active donation career of at least 10 years were categorised into sex-specific donation tertiles based on the number of donations during this 10-year qualification period. Cardiovascular endpoints were based on hospital discharge diagnoses and death certificates from Dutch Hospital Data and Statistics Netherlands and occurring after the 10-year qualification period. Cox regression was used to estimate the age-adjusted and starting year-adjusted hazard rate ratio (HRR).

Results Female high-frequency blood donors had a reduced cardiovascular morbidity (HRR=0.91, 95% CI 0.85 to 0.98) compared with low-frequency blood donors. No effect was observed in men (HRR=1.00, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.05). To rule out a residual healthy donor effect (HDE), additional sensitivity analyses using a 5-year qualification period were conducted. The results supported the absence of a residual HDE.

Conclusions This study showed a protective effect of long-term, high-frequency blood donation against cardiovascular disease. This effect was only observed in women and not in men.

  • blood donors
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • translational cardiovascular medicine
  • cardiac risk factors and prevention
  • epidemiology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.