NREs and TTIs in the Netherlands

Stimulated by Prinsze et al 2019.[1]

Photo by Cassi Josh on Unsplash.

New acronyms are guaranteed to get me guessing, but these two were a challenge. They roll off the tongue pretty well as acronyms, but I had to check both! NREs are needle-related events, so that is relevant to the blog, and TTIs are transfusion-transmissible infections ie infections detected in blood donations that could be transmitted to a recipient of the blood if it were to be used.

NREs – needle-related events
TTIs – transfusion-transmissible infections

Blood donation data over a 10-year period in the Netherlands was collected and (multivariate) regression analysis was used to examine the association between recent NREs and the acquisition of TTIs.

Of a total of 9 266 036 donation attempts, recent NREs were documented in 97 518 (1.1%). Recent NREs reported pre-donation were not associated with an increased risk of TTIs. A total of 29 out of 287 TTI-positive donors reported a recent NRE. In 12 the NRE was the likely route of transmission, and in all cases, these were needle-stick injuries. Recent tattoos, body piercings, or acupuncture were not associated with an increased risk for TTIs in Dutch donors.

Since there is a lower return rate of donors following a temporary NRE-based deferral (24% do not return), the authors advocate ending blood donor deferral policies for acupuncture, tattooing, and body piercings, but not needle-stick injuries, in countries where these practices can be considered safe.


1         Prinsze FJ, van de Laar T, Slot E, et al. No increased risk of transfusion-transmissible infections after tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture among blood donors in the Netherlands. Transfusion Published Online First: 22 June 2019. doi:10.1111/trf.15421

Declaration of interests MC