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BACKGROUND: The INTERVAL trial showed shorter inter-donation intervals could safely increase the frequency of whole-blood donation. We extended the INTERVAL trial to consider the relative cost-effectiveness of reduced inter-donation intervals. METHODS: Our within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) used data from 44,863 whole-blood donors randomly assigned to 12, 10 or 8 week (males), and 16, 14 or 12 week inter-donation intervals (females). The CEA analysed the number of whole-blood donations, deferrals including low- haemoglobin deferrals, and donors' health-related quality of life (QoL) to report costs and cost-effectiveness over two years. FINDINGS: The mean number of blood donation visits over two years was higher for the reduced interval strategies, for males (7.76, 6.60 and 5.68 average donations in the 8-, 10- and 12- week arms) and for females (5.10, 4.60 and 4.01 donations in the 12-, 14- and 16- week arms). For males, the average rate of deferral for low haemoglobin per session attended, was 5.71% (8- week arm), 3.73% (10- week), and 2.55% (12- week), and for females the rates were: 7.92% (12-week), 6.63% (14- week), and 5.05% (16- week). Donors' QoL was similar across strategies, although self-reported symptoms were increased with shorter donation intervals. The shorter interval strategies increased average cost, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of £9.51 (95% CI 9.33 to 9.69) per additional whole-blood donation for the 8- versus 12- week interval for males, and £10.17 (95% CI 9.80 to 10.54) for the 12- versus 16- week interval arm for females. CONCLUSIONS: Over two years, reducing the minimum donation interval could provide additional units of whole-blood at a small additional cost, including for those donor subgroups whose blood type is in relatively high demand. However, the significance of self-reported symptoms needs to be investigated further before these policies are expanded.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

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