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Genetic haemochromatosis

Published on 01 April 2020

We accept blood donations from people with genetic haemochromatosis (GH). They must meet the donor selection guidelines laid out in chapter three of the ‘Guidelines for Blood Transfusion Services in the UK (Red Book)’. Read chapter three on the Joint Professional Advisory Committee website.

Blood donation is always a choice. Patients must not feel under pressure to give blood in order to get treatment for their condition.

Who to refer

Any GH patient for whom therapeutic venesection is required or planned must be approved by the SNBTS Donor Medical Team to donate blood. This applies to anyone who would be offered venesection if they weren’t donating, including patients who are compound heterozygotes with minimal iron overload.

Patients who’ve never been venesected and who don’t currently require venesection can donate blood without referral. You should still consider referral if the patient is likely to need venesection in the future.

To be eligible, GH patients must:

  • have no end organ damage related to their diagnosis of GH
  • have good venous access and no adverse reactions to venesection
  • not require intravenous fluid replacement
  • be at the maintenance phase of treatment
  • be under the continuing care of the referring clinical team who will monitor their iron status and frequency of venesection and will provide venesection facilities if the donor is unable /does not wish to donate

In addition, GH donors must meet all donor selection guidelines before each donation.

Blood donation works best for healthy individuals who are keen to give blood and have good access to local donation sessions. GH patients with co-morbidities, a history of poor tolerance of venesection or limited access to local sessions may not be suitable.

How to refer

Download and complete our referral form (Word, 253 KB).

Return the form by email to: NSS.SNBTSdcstadmin@nhs.net

Please scan and attach each referral individually to the email.

What your patient needs to know

  • They will only be bled by SNBTS if they meet all donor selection criteria when they attend.
  • SNBTS will not monitor their iron status or donation frequency.
  • GH donors are included in routine donor call-up programmes and don’t receive any additional appointments or reminders.
  • They may not be called up as frequently as their desired venesection schedule.
  • They can contact the Donor Enquiry Line with any questions – 03459 090999

Please make sure your patient knows how to get in touch with your clinic to discuss venesection if they’re not eligible to, or don’t wish to, donate.

What happens following referral

The Donor Medical Team will review the referral form and make a decision using the information provided. We may need to contact the referring clinical team or patient for further information. We’ll be in touch to let you know the outcome of the referral. If the patient is eligible, we’ll register them for a local session as an approved GH donor.

If you’d like to discuss anything, please email or call the Donor Medical Team:

Email: NSS.SNBTSdcst@nhs.net

Telephone: 0131 3145520