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Blood donation could provide a unique opportunity for population wide surveillance screening for the early detection of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, according to American research presented recently at EuroPRevent 2011 in Geneva.

In the study Stephen Eason and colleagues, from Carter Blood Care (Bedford, Texas, US), investigated whether measuring total non-fasting cholesterol on volunteer blood donors at each donation might help identify individuals at risk of future CVD. The study targeted young individuals since they were considered less likely to be aware of their risk status and less likely to be taking pharmacological agents for cholesterol control.

In the study, investigators reviewed non-fasting total cholesterol levels of 5,615 Caucasian volunteers, aged between 20 and 39 years of age at their first donation in 2002, and at a second donation in 2008.  The results showed that the average cholesterol was 4.4 mmol/L for females and 4.6 mmol/L for males in 2002; but that by 2008 readings had risen to 4.8 mmol/L for females and 4.9 mmol/L for males.

“The study showed that population-wide screening of individuals in the blood donor setting can identify a significant number of people who are at a greater risk of future CVD  and who could benefit from further evaluation,” said Eason, adding that they also showed how CVD risk increases with time.

Cholesterol, he added, is just one metabolic maker used to determine CVD risk. “Additional studies with metabolic markers such as HDL-C for cardiovascular disease and A1c for diabetes need to be explored to determine which might be appropriate for population wide screening,” he said.


1 Eason S, Sayers M.  Blood donation as an opportunity for population-wide surveillance and early detection of cardiovascular disease risk.  The European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 2011;18:Supplement 1, S100

Published on: June 8, 2011

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