Background: Blood donations are generally well tolerated but they are not completely without risk. While the majority of complications are mild and self-limiting, some can cause significant donor discomfort and negative effect on donor satisfaction and return for the donation. Vasovagal reactions are among the most common complications of blood donations. Understanding the incidence of vasovagal reaction and its associated factors is essential to design strategies that minimize these reactions. But, there is a paucity of evidence from Ethiopia.
Objective: To assess the incidence of vasovagal reactions and its associated factors during blood donation.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted at National Blood Bank, Ethiopia. Baseline data of all volunteer blood donors and recorded vasovagal reaction events from 11th September 2012 – 5th September 2013 were extracted from records. Data were analyzed by SPSS 20. Binary logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with the vasovagal reaction.
Results: A total of 6,019 donors were included in this analysis. The incidence of vasovagal reactions was 3%. Females had 83% lower chance of having vasovagal reactions. A young donor (< 23 years old) had a 69% lower risk of having vasovagal reactions compared to ≥ 23 years old. The chance of having vasovagal reactions for a donor who donated at mobile donation site was 94% lower. A donor who donated 450ml had 3 times higher chance of having vasovagal reaction compared to who donated 350ml. A first-time donor had at least 34% lower risk of having vasovagal reactions.
Conclusion: Interventions to reduce vasovagal reactions should consider sex, age, donation site, the volume of blood donated and donation history of the donors.
Keywords: Volunteer donors, whole blood, incidence, vasovagal reactions, Ethiopia