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Iron infusion

For the treatment of anaemia (Low red blood cell count)

The word anaemia means a low red blood cell count, or less of the red blood pigment (haemoglobin) in your blood. A good red blood cell count is important because red blood cells carry oxygen. Every breath we take fills our lungs with oxygen. Our red blood cells pass through the lungs, soak up the oxygen and carry it to the rest of the body.

There are many causes of anaemia some of which include kidney or bowel disease, bleeding post-surgery or heavy menstrual periods.

Iron is one of the essential building blocks of red blood cells. If you don’t have enough iron you will not have healthy red blood cells and your blood will carry less oxygen. You may experience: tiredness, shortness of breath, lack of energy to work or exercise, pale skin, light headedness, poor memory and fast heart rate.

Iron infusion is necessary for patients where iron tablets are not powerful enough to build up iron stores adequately or their body is unable to absorb any of the iron taken as tablets. Some patients have injections to treat their anaemia but these injections are different from iron and do not replace the need for iron. In fact the iron infusion is needed for these injections to work properly.

Your iron infusion will take approximately 1-4 hours. An intravenous (IV) drip will be put into your arm. A very safe form of iron (iron polymaltose) with very few side effects is used for the infusion. The iron itself does not hurt. Iron infusion is always delivered in a supervised medical environment as, on very rare occasions, serious allergic reaction may occur. A nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse during the infusion. Please let the nurse know if you feel unwell at any time.

Side effects are rare but they may include headache, nausea, vomiting, joint or muscle pain, shortness of breath and itchiness. If you experience any of the above seek medical advice or contact the hospital on 9411 7557 and ask them to contact your specialist. Around 10% of patients will develop a mild fever and sore joints 2-3 days after the infusion. This is not serious and will usually disappear with 1-2 doses of Panadol.

Appointments

On the day of your appointment it is important to arrive on time.

Food Eat and drink your usual meals before coming to hospital
Medication Take your usual medications and bring any you may need during the day with you
What to bring Medicare/Healthcare card/Vet Affairs card. A book or magazine will help pass the time
What to wear Please wear a top with sleeves that roll up easily. (Pyjamas not necessary)