Because high body iron stores have been suggested as a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction, donation of blood could theoretically reduce the risk by lowering body iron stores. For this reason, the authors tested the hypothesis that voluntary blood donation is associated with reduced risk of acute myocardial infarction in a prospective epidemiologic follow-up study in men from eastern Finland. The subjects are all participants of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. A cohort of 2,862 men aged 42-60 years were followed for an average of almost 9 years. One man (0.7%) out of 153 men who had donated blood in 24 months preceding the baseline examination experienced an acute myocardial infarction during 1984 to 1995, whereas 316 men (12.5%) of 2,529 non-blood donors had an acute myocardial infarction (p < 0.0001 for difference between proportions). In a Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for age, examination years and all other predictive coronary disease risk factors, blood donors had a 88% reduced risk (relative hazard = 0.12, 95% confidence interval 0.02-0.86, p = 0.035) of acute myocardial infarction, compared with non-blood donors. These findings suggest that frequent blood loss through voluntary blood donations may be associated with a reduced risk of acute myocardial infarction in middle-aged men.