Health-Related Quality-of-Life Comparison of Adult Related and Unrelated HSC Donors: An RDSafe Study

Galen E. Switzer, Jessica G. Bruce, Deidre M. Kiefer, Hati Kobusingye, Kaleab Z. Abebe, Rebecca Drexler, Rae Anne M. Besser, Dennis L. Confer, Mary M. Horowitz, Roberta J. King, Bronwen E. Shaw, Marcie Riches, Brandon Hayes-Lattin, Michael Linenberger, Brian Bolwell, Scott D. Rowley, Mark R. Litzow, Michael A. Pulsipher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple investigations have documented the health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) and donation-related experiences of unrelated donors (URDs), but similar investigations of the related donor (RD) experience have been less common. The central goal of this study was to longitudinally examine and compare HRQoL of RD and URD hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) donors from predonation through 1 year postdonation. This prospective investigation included adult HSC donors ages 18 to 60 years who donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells at one of 48 geographically diverse US transplant/donor centers and completed HRQoL interviews at predonation and 4 weeks and 1 year postdonation. At predonation, related donors were less ambivalent about donation (t = –3.30; P = .001), more satisfied with their decision to donate (t = 2.65; P = .009), and more likely to define themselves as donors (t = 2.94; P = .004) than were URDs. However, related donors were more concerned about the use of needles (odds ratio [OR] = 2.19; P = .012), about who would pay for the procedure (OR = 2.80; P = .011), and the possibility that they would feel responsible if the transplant failed (t = 2.31; P = .022). Shortly postdonation, related donors were more likely to report donation-related pain (t = 2.50; P = .013) and lightheadedness (OR = 3.63; P = .028). At 1 year postdonation, related donors were less likely to be fully recovered from donation (OR = 0.10; P = .010) and more likely to report a longer recovery period following donation (t = 2.57; P = .011), although this latter finding was primarily due to the percentage of related versus unrelated donors not fully recovered at 1 year postdonation (10% versus 1%). Taken together, these findings suggest that current related donor management practices may be sufficient in preparing related donors for the psychological aspects of donation but that there may be more to do in terms of calibrating the description of donation-related experiences and recovery time to the related donor group (i.e., descriptions of donation experiences based on unrelated donation may not provide best estimates of experience for this group).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2365-2371
Number of pages7
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • HSC donation
  • HSC donor HRQoL
  • Related versus unrelated donation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'Health-Related Quality-of-Life Comparison of Adult Related and Unrelated HSC Donors: An RDSafe Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this