Donating blood while on coumadin

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JimL

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I have enjoyed donating blood for decades. I finished donating my sixth gallon in Michigan about two months before heart surgery, in addition to what I donated in Illinois and Wisconsin previously. While in college a bunch of us would walk down together and donate, kid the nurses, enjoy the free food (which was better than the cafeteria), and walk back to school together. When I have donated blood in the past, I've always felt like I was young again, sharing that college experience.
Now that I'm on coumadin forever, I'm told that Red Cross doesn't want my blood. I haven't yet pursued that question to the end with them. Probably they don't want my blood because they can't use blood that won't clot quickly on someone who's losing blood rapidly. But there is still doubt in my mind. Perhaps they don't want my blood because they're afraid that I won't stop bleeding after I donate. Does anyone know for sure? Is it that they don't want my blood, or is it that they're ignorant about coumadin?
We have our next local blood drive a month from tomorrow, I hope to have the time to go down anyway, but I hesitate to take up a Red Cross nurse's time with my question.
 

Creed3

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Virginia
I don't know the answer to that question. I used to donate blood as well and was told flat out that I could not donate blood anymore. I was not given a reason as to why, I just assumed it was because of being on coumadin and I never questioned them further on it. If you find an answer, let me know.

Take Care!
Gail
 

Hank

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Out of luck Jim!

Out of luck Jim!

I know how you feel Jim - I used to donate regularly and now cannot. The only way we coumadin folks will ever be able to donate blood is to lie on the little interview because they will NEVER let coumadin taking folks give blood. So, what this means is that we must watch from afar while others get the blessings for helping out with blood donations. We are just gonna have to donate something else I guess. Maybe time, money, or a kidney or something ;)
 

LUVMyBirman

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I may be having surgery in the near future, 'non heart related'. My internist urged me to consider banking away a minimum of three pints. Even on the Coumadin..... they informed me I can do what is called a directed donation to myself. This really surprised me. Coumarians cannot donate to the general public. When and if I get to the point of carrying such out....I will post my findings.

I had cardiac clearance to donate to myself prior to me MVR.. Other than the valve, my heart function is perfect. Guess it depends on the condition of your heart if they will allow you to donate at all.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have had several people do what Gina is planning, donating blood ahead of time for their own surgery. The local blood bank wants the INR to be below 2.0 before they will accept it. One time the INR was 2.1 and they called the pathologist who accepted it.

As far as I know, they will not accept a general donation from someone on warfarin.
 

MarkU

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Sarasota, FL
Interesting. My local Red Cross blood bank told me I could donate blood as long as I have written permission from my cardiologist. They told me that the Coumadin wasn't a problem. Anybody have any actual solid scientific info?

Mark
 
M

McCln

Guest
Mark

Mark

Weren't you listening, it is medically impossible to donated blood that does not clot properly. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know this informtion from the sources is correct. We all would love to donate blood as much as we want to, but as long as the blood can't clot properly, we can't donate. Coumadin and ecotrin is the culprit because our blood is thinner now also. You all take care.

Caroline
09-13-01
Aortic valve replacement
St. Jude's valve
 

MarkU

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Caroline,
I was stating a fact. The Red Cross here in Sarasota told me that I could donate blood with my doctor's permission and if I told them that I was on Coumadin at the time I donated.
I was asking if anybody had any hard, factual scientific reference to confirm or deny that this was accurate.

I certainly do not appreciate the sarcastic tone of your reply.

Mark
 

MarkU

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Sarasota, FL
Thanks for the link Nancy. I'm going to ask the local blood bank about it. Like I said earlier, they didn' t have any problem with me donating, nor did my doctor. Of course, maybe somebody down the line threw it away.
At least I got some free orange juice and a cookie...

Mark
 

MarkU

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Yikes! I spent about three months a year in England, Holland and Germany on business for about five years prior to my surgery.
They probably take my blood straight the toxic waste dump with all the used motor oil and anti-freeze!

Mark

:(
 

JimL

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Feb 17, 2002
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Imlay City, Michigan
Nancy, thanks much for the link which says, "Coumadin, heparin or other prescription blood thinners- you should not donate since your blood will not clot normally. If your doctor discontinues your treatment with blood thinners, wait 5 days before returning to donate."
However, my question still remains: Is this because they don't want me to bleed to death
OR
Because they won't give my blood to anyone?
The answer on the link still seems ambiguous. However, if Red Cross clearly says they don't want my blood, I suppose that settles it, even if I don't know why.
 

Nancy

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upstate New York
Jim-

From what Joe has said re: blood donations (he's been on Coumadin for 25 years), they can't use any blood with anticoagulation in it because it would pose a danger for the person receiving it. Coumadin, if stopped, would clear the body in a few days, so I guess that's why the 5 day waiting period after discontinuation of Coumadin and the other anticoagulants.

If it were you bleeding to death, all you Coumadiners would do that every time you went to the lab.

When Joe had his total bleedout after his gallbladder surgery, he needed 30 units of blood products to stop the bleed. Imagine if any of that had anticoagulation in it. He'd be gone.

But ask your blood center, maybe they have another way of looking at it.
 
G

Gisele

Guest
I donated to myself...

I donated to myself...

About 8-10 years ago (on coumadin now for 20+ years), and prior to surgery my gyn had me go in and donate to myself. Now that poses the question, if they had the need to use it, it wouldn't it be anitcoagulated? I was admitted prior to surgery and put on heparin. Therefore, is there some type of filtering they can do with the blood to remove the anticoagulants??? Do they just take the platelets??? I am not really sure what they did to my blood. I guess I should have asked.

Gisele
 
G

Guest

Guest
No filtering will remove the anticoagulants. What you might have done was held the warfarin a day or two to get your INR below 2.0.
 

TheGymGuy

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Rockville, MD
Bumping this up, as I was going to get swabbed for possible donation for a hodgkins cancer patient. Still going to go get swabbed to see if the type matches as we are not related, but if it does I wonder if I could donate. Lots of great info here.
 

ski girl

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Perth, Western Australia
Yeah it's the concern about blood that doesn't clot as fast as 'normal' blood going to someone else and the uncertainties that would cause in their treatment.

On a different note, I tried to sign up to be a bone marrow donor (warfarin shouldn't affect that!) and was told no due to the impact the operation would have on me. I said that was really my concern, if I had to come off warfarin for a couple days just like I would if I had to have any other operation, that would be more than worth it to potentially save someone's life.

Still, no. THAT I don't understand.
 

TheGymGuy

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Rockville, MD
@Ski Girl, that really sucks. I suppose we could go off warfarin for 2 days, donate, and go back on. In theory once our INR is under 1.5 we could donate no problem.
 

tom in MO

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MO USA
Although many people safely go off warfarin for necessary procedures, some do have stokes. This happened to my mil. The stroke was "minor" but being 85yo she never fully recovered. She was bridged at a well respected heart hospital in Milwaukee, "stuff happens"
 
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