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Blood transfusion after surgery is something to avoid where possible.  One factor that has been identified is that some patients start from a low point, and it doesn’t take much to push them over the edge.  It raises two questions: why are their iron stores low, and how can we get them higher quickly?  Patients with unexpected iron deficiency anaemia typically need investigation which may include gastroscopy & colonoscopy, but also need an Iron infusion.

An audit at Ballarat Base Hospital demonstrate the transfusion rate for elective surgery had dropped to ZERO, in contrast to the state average of 36% for anaemic patients and 7% for non anaemic patients undergoing elective joint replacements.

Iron infusions have been successfully used at both BBH & St John of God, and are performed as a minor day procedure typically two weeks before a joint replacement.  Some patients need two infusions a week apart.  By improving iron stores, the risk of post operative anaemia requiring transfusion is reduced.  By avoiding transfusion, immuno-modulation and other transfusion risked are removed.  Less anaemia after the surgery means more energy and an easier recovery.

​Download the BHS Drug Guidelines here

Mr David Mitchell