Is donating blood for the faint of heart? a systematic review of predictors of syncope in whole blood donors Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUNDAdverse events during donation negatively impact the likelihood of subsequent donation. Syncope is a possible complication of blood donation in healthy individuals. This systematic review aims to identify risk factors for syncope in healthy blood donors.STUDY DESIGN AND METHODSMedline, Embase, Cochrane, CINAHL, Web of Science, Transfusion Evidence Library, and PubMed libraries up to November 2016 were searched. Inclusion criteria were observational and interventional trials, case series including more than 10 participants, randomized controlled trials, and clinical trials. Papers required data pertaining to syncopal events separate from presyncope for inclusion. Incomplete text or non–English language versions were excluded. Papers were evaluated using the CHARMS 2014 checklist.RESULTSFrom 3316 papers, 1297 unique citations were identified, and 11 were selected for data extraction. Sex, estimated blood volume, age, donor status, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, previous reaction, caffeine, sleep, and donation site were identified as risk factors for syncope during blood donation.CONCLUSIONPossible risk factors for syncope in healthy blood donors have been identified that could allow for improved screening prior to donation and potential reduction in donor attrition due to negative experiences.


  • Donald, Scott J
  • McIntyre, William
  • Dingwall, Orvie
  • Hiebert, Brett
  • Ponnampalam, Arjuna
  • Seifer, Colette M

publication date

  • September 2019