Beginning May 23, we’re implementing changes in blood donor guidelines, some of which are regulatory and will affect donor eligibility. One will add a step to the pre-donation screening for certain donors, and another change is primarily operational for our blood center. We’ve outlined more details on what these changes will mean for Carter BloodCare donors.
Replacing Hemoglobin Measurement
Donors who are accustomed to the mini pre-donation physical will no longer be tested for their hemoglobin levels. Due to new technology, we will instead begin measuring hematocrit. Hematocrit is given as a percentage. The minimum hematocrit requirement is 38 percent for females (equivalent to hemoglobin of 12.5 gms) and 39 percent for males (hemoglobin 13 gms). To learn your hematocrit after May 23, you can login to your My Page account and find your number under the hematocrit tab.
Minimum Hematocrit Requirement Increases for Males
The FDA is raising the minimum hemoglobin/hematocrit donor eligibility requirement for males. As Carter BloodCare will be measuring hematocrit, the minimum requirement for males will be 39 percent hematocrit, (which is equivalent to hemoglobin of 13 gms). For your safety, no exceptions can be made for this new requirement. Female statistics will remain the same at 38 percent hematocrit (or, previously, hemoglobin 12.5 gms).
Pulse Rate and Irregular Heart Beats
All donors will be required to have a regular pulse in the range from 50-100 beats per minute (formerly 45-110). Previously, donors who were extremely athletic and had a pulse rate lower than 45 beats per minute were still allowed to give, following approval from a medical director. Now, any donor with an irregular pulse, or a pulse outside of the new acceptable range, will require a phone consult with a Carter BloodCare medical director on the day of donation, before a decision can be made about eligibility.
Some Donors Will be Weighed Prior to Giving Blood
The minimum weight to give blood will not change from 110 pounds. However, FDA will now require us to weigh apheresis plasma donors during the screening process. The FDA is committed to keeping all blood donors safe, and this measure ensures that a donor is not giving more plasma than he/she should.
In Carter BloodCare donor centers, the decision about which apheresis collection is ideal often occurs at the bedside with your phlebotomist. Therefore, we are electing to weigh all apheresis donors in the donor centers, during the screening process. These donations include platelet, double red cell, plasma, and combination procedures.
If you have any questions regarding how these new regulations affect your ability to give, please call Donor Advocate at 1-877-351-3600 or email DonorAdvocate@carterbloodcare.org.