Attitudes and physical condition of unrelated bone marrow donors immediately after donation

D. Stroncek, R. Strand, E. Scott, L. Kamstra-Halvorson, N. Halagan, G. Rogers, J. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Annually, over 3000 bone marrow transplants are performed worldwide involving HLA-identical sibling donors. However, only 30 percent of those patients who need a bone marrow transplant have a matched sibling donor. Programs have been developed to provide volunteer unrelated bone marrow donors for patients without sibling donors. Because bone marrow donation requires a high level of altruism, especially on the part of a donor unrelated to the patient, it is important to determine the effect of donation on the donor. Serious medical complications during the collection of marrow from related donors have been reported only rarely, but there have been no reports on the psychosocial and physical effects of the bone marrow donation process on volunteer unrelated bone marrow donors. The first 20 unrelated volunteers who donated bone marrow through the authors' volunteer bone marrow donor program were surveyed. They suffered no serious emotional or physical aftereffects. Seventeen of 20 donors reported that making the decision to donate was easy, and 16 reported making the decision to donate right away. Nine of 20 donors, however, stated that a friend or family member discouraged them from donating. All 20 donors thought that they were well prepared for the donation process. Four donors thought that the donation process required more time than they expected, but four donors thought the reverse. One person thought that the process was more painful than they expected; however, 12 found the process to be less painful than expected. Nineteen of the 20 donors said that they would donate bone marrow again, and 17 would advise others to donate marrow. No life-threatening medical complication occurred; however, one donor (5%) experienced orthostatic hypotension for 1 day following the collection. No donors received homologous blood transfusions, and all donors received 1 or 2 units of autologous red cells. No contraindication to the continued use of unrelated volunteer bone marrow donors was found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989


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