An iron infusion is a procedure where iron is directly introduced to the patient’s body using an IV or intravenous line. Increased Iron in the blood of individuals is believed to address anemia and raise the level of red blood cells present in the circulatory system. Hemoglobin is produced by the body using the said red blood cells or RBCs and serves as the body’s main carrier of oxygen throughout the human body. People who do not have enough hemoglobin can feel fatigued, they can also have heartbeats that may be described as rapid, and even breathing issues or difficulties. Iron infusion then can help people with iron deficiency especially if supplementation is no longer that effective.
Who Needs an Iron Infusion?
People who are generally low on iron need an iron infusion or the introduction of iron into their blood. Some of them are the following:
- Who lost significant amounts of blood due to heavy menstruating, ulcers, and cancers
- Has a low iron diet
- Under medication
People who take certain medications that can influence the body’s processes in converting iron to hemoglobin. Some of these medications are heparin and aspirin.
Healthcare professionals and doctors can run some lab tests for the patient’s blood to determine the Iron content and verify if it is either within the normal range or if the body’s iron levels are already low. Many different medical conditions can cause iron levels to plummet and as such, doctors need to run several different tests to check the specific types of iron present in the patient’s blood. This can confirm if it is the low levels or the lack of Iron that is causing the patient’s anemia. Once confirmed, then the Doctor can establish the fact that it is indeed iron-deficiency anemia.
An iron infusion can also be given to patients who have low blood count wherein iron supplementation and the intake of iron supplements are not quick or fast enough to address the said low blood counts. Other patients with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome who are unable to take supplementations of iron may benefit more from Iron infusion.
What Should Patients Expect During an Iron Infusion?
Patients are required to visit a healthcare facility, a hospital, or doctor’s office to have the iron infusion procedure conducted. A healthcare professional will have the patient’s arm on a tourniquet before inserting into the vein a small needle. The said needle will then be changed into a catheter where medicines can then be introduced via IV or intravenously.
Most patients will receive a test dose before being given an entire or whole infusion. This test dose will be introduced in small amounts within five (5) minutes. In general, though, the IV or intravenous concoction will usually have an iron mixed in a solid solution. Once the person does not exhibit any form of an allergic reaction to the IV mixture being introduced, then the healthcare professional can introduce the patient to the entire remaining dosage of the Iron IV.
The entire process of infusion will usually take around 15 to 30 minutes and will be introduced in dosages that will range from 200 to 300 mg or milligrams. Doctors will also advise against giving patients more than 600 mg of iron within one (1) week. This is because if a patient takes in excess iron quickly, they may have an increased risk of side effects from an iron infusion.
What Should Patients Expect After Receiving an Iron Infusion?
A patient can also encounter some side effects that are considered mild within 1 to 2 days after the iron infusion. These side effects include joint pain, metallic taste in the mouth, and headaches. Patients who will experience difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth, dizziness, chest pain after the iron infusion should immediately consult a medical condition. Doctors or healthcare professionals may also request patients to come back or return several times to have additional infusions of iron as part of the complete treatment package. Some instances may see patients receiving only one (1) iron infusion for the treatment.
It is expected that as the levels of iron increase in the system of the patient, the symptoms of iron deficiency should start to dissipate. The said clearing of these symptoms will usually take around weeks as the iron reserves in the body start to increase. The doctor will also regularly monitor the person’s levels of iron and the blood count of the patient to make sure that the iron infusions are indeed doing its intended purpose.
What are the Possible Risks and Side Effects of Iron Infusion?
The procedure known as Iron Infusion can have some side effects that can affect the patient. These include swelling, nausea, loose bowel movements, dizziness, and constipation. Some other side effects include fainting and hypotension or low blood pressure. There are some rare instances where patients who received Iron infusions may have some form of an anaphylactic reaction. This is considered an allergic reaction that is severe and causes severe itching, rashes, and breathing problems.