This study investigated the impact of blood donor age and gender on RBC transfusion outcome. In solid organ transplantation, donor characteristics are associated with recipients’ outcome. In unrelated allogeneic stem cell transplantation, for example, young male donors are preferred over female or older donors. As blood transfusion is the smallest form of transplantation, the question arises whether donor characteristics have an impact on patients’ outcome after transfusion.

The authors conducted a longitudinal cohort study with the objective of measuring recipient survival after 187 960 RBC transfusions at 4 academic hospitals. RBC transfusions from younger donors and from female donors were statistically significantly associated with increased mortality.

The results of this study should be considered with caution because a significant proportion of patients also received other blood components and the production and storage characteristics of RBCs were not adequately analysed. Further clinical trials are warranted to confirm or refute the authors’ findings suggesting blood donor characteristics may affect transfusion recipient outcome.

– Rainer Moog