Machine learning-based prediction of fainting during blood donations using donor properties and weather data as features

Susanne Suessner, Norbert Niklas, Ulrich Bodenhofer, Jens Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Fainting is a well-known side effect of blood donation. Such adverse experiences can diminish the return rate for further blood donations. Identifying factors associated with fainting could help prevent adverse incidents during blood donation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data of 85,040 blood donations from whole blood and apheresis donors within four consecutive years were included in this retrospective study. Seven different machine learning models (random forests, artificial neural networks, XGradient Boosting, AdaBoost, logistic regression, K nearest neighbors, and support vector machines) for predicting fainting during blood donation were established. The used features derived from the data obtained from the questionnaire every donor has to fill in before the donation and weather data of the day of the donation.

RESULTS: One thousand seven hundred fifteen fainting reactions were observed in 228 846 blood donations from 88,003 donors over a study period of 48 months. Similar values for all machine learning algorithms investigated for NPV, PPV, AUC, and F1-score were obtained. In general, NPV was above 0.996, whereas PPV was below 0.03. AUC and F1-score were close to 0.9 for all models. Essential features predicting fainting during blood donation were systolic and diastolic blood pressure and ambient temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure.

CONCLUSION: Machine-learning algorithms can establish prediction models of fainting in blood donors. These new tools can reduce adverse reactions during blood donation and improve donor safety and minimize negative associations relating to blood donation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number222
Pages (from-to)222
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2022


  • Blood Donors
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syncope
  • Weather
  • Fainting
  • Blood donation
  • Donor safety


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