The majority of blood donors (BD) experience few side effects from donation; however, for a minority of donors, donation may lead to injury or long-term health problems. Adverse donor effects also have important negative consequences for the blood collection centre. Even mild reactions may decrease the likelihood of donor return, and severe reactions may lead to long-term disability and permanent donor deferral. Finally, reactions occurring during collection may lead to loss of the blood component due to incomplete collection resulting in an inadequate component volume.
BD vigilance is the systematic monitoring of adverse occurrences in BD care with a view to improving quality and safety for BD. Complications related to blood donation are adverse occurrences with a temporal relation to blood donation. These may be grouped into two categories: immediate or acute (reactions occurring at the time of donation) or delayed (occurring after donation); either may lead to long-term adverse effects. Acute complications may be related to the venipuncture itself, such as bruising or nerve injury, or may be systemic reactions such as dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting. For whole blood donation, long-term adverse effects consist in consequences associated with injury, as well as iron loss associated with donation, with reduced iron stores, iron deficient haematopoiesis, and eventually possible iron deficiency anaemia.
In order to be able to compare data between countries and Blood Transfusion Establishment (BTE), it is important to use standardized definitions. Great work has been achieved since 2008 by the IHN, in collaboration with the ISBT working party on Haemovigilance and the Donor Hemovigilance Committee of the AABB, to elaborate a standard list of definitions for the immediate complications during the donation or within 24 hours of the donation. The following are definitions as reported in the last revision (December 2014) (25).