Why are people with a history of epilepsy not allowed to donate blood?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Sravanthi Sunkaraneni

The Pan American Health Organization states that “Blood donation may induce transitory cerebral hypoxia in epileptic patients which, in turn, may increase the risk for adverse reactions to donation, such as syncope and convulsions.” It further states that “Individuals with a history of epilepsy can donate blood if they have been free of seizures for three years, irrespective of medication.”

Research states that people with epilepsy are not allowed to donate blood in certain countries as it is assumed that they are prone to certain adverse reactions after donating the blood. The most common adverse effects are syncope and convulsions (seizures). It is hypothesised that those who donate blood might experience a very small decrease in blood volume for a short duration that might result in a brief reduction in oxygen supply to the brain triggering a seizure in those with epilepsy.

Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences, India states that blood donation cannot be accepted by people with various health conditions, including epilepsy and convulsions. Other blood banks such as JPAC (Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee) do not allow a person to donate if they are on treatment for epilepsy or have had an epileptic episode in the last three years.  However, research conducted on epileptic patients concluded that they are not at a greater risk of adverse reactions post-blood donation.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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