summary. In Canada and several other countries, there is an upper age limit for blood donation. In order to evaluate the safety of whole blood donation in elderly Canadian allogeneic donors, we analysed reaction rates following whole blood donation.
Reactions rates in allogeneic whole blood donors who donated at Canadian Blood Services were reviewed retrospectively. Rates were analysed by age, donation frequency and by donation frequency for each age group.
A total of 5478 reactions were available for analysis in 469 837 donors. The highest rate of mild reactions occurred in donors less than 20 years of age. Moderate and severe reactions decreased with increasing age and with donation frequency. Age-adjusted rates for mild reactions were less frequent in donors aged 66–77 years than in donors younger than 20 years. Although age-adjusted moderate reactions varied with donation frequency, after seven donations, rates were not increased for donors aged 60 years or older (0·61% for donors aged less than 20 years compared to 0·03% for donors aged 60–65 years compared to 0% for donors aged 66–71 years). Age-adjusted rates for severe reactions generally did not increase with donation frequency.
These results confirm the safety of whole blood donation in regular donors who are 66–71 years of age.