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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This systematic review was aimed at finding evidence for the safety of blood donation by individuals with treated hypertension or type 2 diabetes. It was undertaken as part of a wider project to re-evaluate exclusion criteria for UK blood donors with a view to increasing eligibility. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Searches were undertaken in the Cochrane Library to 2008, MEDLINE (1950 onwards), EMBASE (1974 onwards), CINAHL (1982 onwards), BNID (1994 onwards), the NHSBT SRI Handsearching Database and the Web of Science (all years) to February 2008. Planned analysis was largely descriptive. RESULTS: We identified only 16 relevant papers. None of the identified studies directly addressed the review questions and methodological appraisal highlighted a number of deficiencies. However all included papers provided contributory data and the findings were consistent. No study found any evidence of increased risk to homologous (allogeneic) or autologous blood donors with treated hypertension or with raised baseline systolic blood pressure up to 200 mmHg. We found very few data relating to blood donation by diabetic subjects. CONCLUSIONS: No identified study indicated that raised baseline blood pressure level, treated hypertension or diabetes was predictive of increased adverse reactions in blood donors but the level of overall evidence was limited. This is the first attempt to systematically review a donor area as part of an approach to change longstanding practice recommendations, and may have implications for other recommendations for changes in donor acceptance criteria.

Original publication




Journal article


Vox Sang

Publication Date





431 - 440


Antihypertensive Agents, Blood Component Removal, Blood Donors, Blood Pressure, Blood Transfusion, Blood Transfusion, Autologous, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Epidemiologic Research Design, Female, Humans, Hypertension, Hypoglycemic Agents, Insulin, Male, Phlebotomy, Syncope, Vasovagal, United Kingdom