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Arrhythmia and donating blood
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Arrhythmia and donating blood

I've never donated blood before, but I've been meaning to for the last few years.

I'm wondering if having any sort of arrhythmia would preclude someone from donating.  Are there types of arrhythmia that would keep someone from giving?
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251395_tn?1395961265
Good question. I can think of a few things that would contraindicate someone from donating blood.

If you are taking a blood thining medication such as coumadin, your risk of hemhorrage would increase because unlike an IV which is a plastic catheter. A large bore needle is inserted to collect blood (OUCH!)

Also, if your heart or overall health is in a compromised , or if you are prone to low blood pressure or have suffered vasovagal syndrome, they usually will not allow you to donate. Beyond that, you will most likely be asked to obtain a letter from your Dr stating his approval.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

Just wondering whether you gave blood. I have about 8000 PVCs a day, but am not on any medications. I do have slightly low blood pressure normally, and a slower pulse. I'm concerned about whether I'll feel very tired from giving blood, although I've always wanted to donate it. I also need a smaller gauge needle for blood draws, and if they use a large bore one, maybe I shouldn't?

Not sure what vasovagal syndrome is, so I don't know whether I have it. Will have to check it out.  I do remember, though, that you had a fairly high number of PVCs too. I'm hoping you can give me some advice (if you did donate blood, that is.)

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Avatar_f_tn
Hey there, great question! I am an avid blood donator, let me tell you my medical history in a nutshell: I'm 21 yrs old and have had SVT my entire life. I am currently on 100mg beta blocker and 300mg of flecainide daily. I average about 13000 PVCs/24hrs and my resting BPM is 130-135. I've had 3 ablations  in both my upper and lower chambers and though they worked short term, my problems came back even worse and now my cardiologist and I have decided that medicinal treatment is best for me. My internal defibrillator is set to go off when my BPM exceeds 240. I've had histories of VT and A-Fib, and a whole other list of arrhythmia's that I can't even keep track of (hard for an eleven year old to wrap their head around this kind of stuff!) But the bottom line is that SVT is the hardest to deal with just because it continues to get worse as I get older and we can't pinpoint why and still play around with my prescription dosages until we can find the best fit.

Finally to the point! YES, I do donate blood about 2-3 times a year. I spoke with my cardiologist and he said that there is no direct link between blood donations and SVT episodes, but that every person's body reacts differently to donating and it's impossible to predict how you'll react until it happens, and that includes each time since your body may not act the same. Sounds like playing a game of Russian Roulette right? I didn't feel too great about his vague answer, but I talked to the American Cross staff and they informed me that SVT sufferers are not one of the groups flagged as having regular negative reactions to donating, and neither of the medications I'm on were on the ineligibility list. So I cross my fingers and donated. I felt minor light-headness afterwards, but had absolutely no problem with rapid heart beats or electrical 'sparks' that PVC's often make me feel. Ironically, my friend who donated with me- who is athletic and healthier than the green giant- felt so dizzy that he had to be tilted with his legs elevated above his head and ended up dry heaving (they said that was a very extreme and rare reaction- but it happens).

The bottom line, having SVT doesn't in itself preclude someone from donating blood, but because the human body will react however it wants, there is the possibility that you could suffer an episode because that's within your body's capability. So it's a matter of whether you feel comfortable with taking that risk, not whether you'll be turned away as ineligible.

p.s.- I've donated about seven times and have never had arrhythmia problems, though one time I felt queasy to my stomach but that faded within a few hours. If I ever do start to feel the onset of an attack, I have to qualms about telling them to remove the line. Even though a full pint of blood is needed for transfusions, lesser amounts donated are still put to 100% medical use. Think about all the drugs, vaccines, and treatments that are being developed and rely on human blood cells for testing. Donating blood can save just as many lives indirectly in this manner. Talk to your doctor about your particular situation and only do what makes you comfortable. Donating blood is about helping those in medical need, so it defeats the point if by donating you put yourself in medical need! Best wishes to all!
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1423357_tn?1414258965
I have my 2 gallon pin from the Red Cross, and SVT my entire life.  Never a problem.  But I use the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule.
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