Fatty festival fare leads to blood rejections

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-02-09 08:10
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Sample testing reveals donors' greasy diets

BEIJING - The greasy diet enjoyed by many Spring Festival revelers was the culprit being blamed this year for a rise in the amount of blood donations that had to be rejected.

In one instance, nearly 50 percent of the blood collected in a vehicle parked outside the Hualian shopping center, near the North Third Ring Road in Beijing, was disqualified through testing. The reason behind the rejections: The donors had ingested excessive amounts of fatty festival fare.

"In normal times, the tests result in 30 percent of the blood we collect being disqualified," said a medical staff member surnamed Liu, who was working at the blood-donation vehicle.

"But during the Chinese lunar new year, the number increased. Rich festival dinners apparently played a part in this."

For the same reason, nearly a third of the donors who tried to give blood at other Beijing collection sites, such as those established in the Old Summer Palace and in Longtan Park, could not pass the blood tests, according to the local newspaper Beijing Evening News. But a greasy diet wasn't the sole cause of the rejections.

A middle-aged man who wandered near the blood donation vehicle outside the Hualian shopping center for half an hour on Tuesday said he was turned down because he had drunk too much.

"I wouldn't have had wine last night if I had known that the doctors wouldn't let me donate blood that had a high alcohol concentration in it," he said, declining to give his name.

According to Liu, medical staff members assigned to the donation vehicles usually draw 1 milliliter of blood as a test sample before allowing a donation to go forward.

"If you consume too much oily food, say, fried food, the grease is mixed into the blood sample and we cannot proceed with other tests," he said.

A failure in the tests did not necessarily mean that willing donors could not give blood. Some were advised to drink more water and wait for several hours at the donation site; others were asked to come again days later, depending on the time they would need to metabolize the fat.

Experts also recommended that potential donors avoid ingesting milk, soybean milk or eggs, and that they not drink alcohol one day before the appointed donation time. Alcoholic content, they warned, could cause dangerous allergic reactions among blood recipients.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/09/2011 page5)