A computational model for prediction of ferritin and haemoglobin levels in blood donors

Yared Paalvast*, Sara Moazzen, Maike Sweegers, Boris Hogema, Mart Janssen, Katja van den Hurk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Blood donors are at risk of iron deficiency anaemia. While this risk is decreased through ferritin-based deferral, ideally ferritin monitoring should also aid in optimising donation frequencies. We extended an existing model of haemoglobin (Hb) synthesis with iron homeostasis and validated the model on a cohort of 300 new donors whose ferritin levels were measured from stored blood samples collected over a 2-year period. We then used the donor's gender, body weight, height, and baseline Hb and ferritin levels to predict subsequent Hb and ferritin levels. The prediction error was within measurement variability in 88% of Hb level predictions and 64% of ferritin level predictions. A sensitivity analysis of the model revealed that baseline ferritin level was the most important in predicting future ferritin levels. Finally, we used the model to calculate the annual donation frequency at which donors would keep their ferritin level >15 ng/ml when measured after donating for 2 years. The mean annual donation frequency would then be 1.9 for women and 4.1 for men. The computational model, requiring baseline values only, can predict future Hb and ferritin levels remarkably well. This enables determination of optimal donation frequencies for individual donors at the start of their donation career.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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