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The impact of cardiovascular conditions on donating blood

Blood is a major component of the cardiovascular system. Often, people who want to donate blood think they can’t because of a cardiovascular condition they may have. Some cardiovascular conditions prevent blood donation, but many do not. If you have a cardiovascular concern you should discuss your particular situation with your personal healthcare provider and the health historian at the time of donation. Let’s explore some common cardiovascular conditions and their impact on blood donation. If after reading this article you still have questions call 800-RED-CROSS for more information.

When you come to an American Red Cross blood drive, your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin are measured. The results provide information about your current health at the time of your donation. At every drive all donors are also evaluated by a health historian who makes the final determination as to whether the donation can proceed.

If you have a history of bleeding problems, and your blood does not clot normally, you cannot donate since you may have excessive bleeding where the needle was placed. For the same reason, do not donate if you are taking any prescription "blood thinner”. If you take aspirin you can donate whole blood.

Individuals with High Blood Pressure can donate as long as their blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation. Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating. Those with Low Blood Pressure can donate as long as the recorded blood pressure is at least 90/50 (systolic/diastolic) and you feel well when you come to donate. One’s heart rate, or pulse cannot be more than 100 beats per minute or less than 50 beats per minute.

People with Heart Disease are generally able to donate blood as long as they have been medically evaluated and treated, have no cardiac related symptoms such as chest pain, and have no limitations or restrictions on their normal daily activities within the last 6 months. People who have experienced an episode of angina, a heart attack, bypass surgery or angioplasty, and/or a change in your heart condition that resulted in a change to medications need to wait at least 6 months prior to donating blood.

Having a pacemaker does not make one ineligible to donate as long as your pulse is between 50 and 100 beats per minute and you meet the other heart disease criteria. If you have a heart murmur, you can donate as long as you have been medically evaluated and treated, have not had symptoms in the last 6 months and have no restrictions on your normal daily activities.

Scheduled drives in West Sedona are: Wednesday, April 10– Sunset Village.

Scheduled drives in the Village of Oak Creek are: Tuesday, February 13 – Sedona Winds and Thursday, March 28 – VOC Church of the Nazarene.

Check online at or the blood donor app for newly added drives.

For additional information contact the Yavapai County Bio-Med Volunteer Lead, Janet Dubiel, at

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