Preoperative use of intravenous iron: a new transfusional therapy
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE: Improving preoperative hemoglobin levels reduces transfusion requirements. The availability in Spain of iron sucrose formulas with good safety profiles has added a new therapeutic option for treating anemia. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the usefulness of preoperative intravenous infusion of iron for improving hemoglobin level before elective major orthopedic surgery. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From the beginning of 2003 until July 2004, 27 consecutive patients scheduled to undergo major orthopedic surgery were given preoperative intravenous iron infusions because of intolerance to oral iron administration, poor intestinal absorption, chronic inflammatory anemia, or functional iron deficit. Twenty patients received preoperative intravenous epoetin alfa and iron and 7 received only intravenous iron because epoetin alfa therapy was ruled out due to cardiovascular or thromboembolic disease or because they had pure iron deficiency. Variables studied were age, sex, weight, type of surgery, iron dose, duration of treatment, reason for treatment, blood parameters, hemoglobin levels, and use of transfusions. RESULTS: The preoperative increase in hemoglobin was 1.7 g dL(-1) (range, 10.8-12.5) for patients who received only intravenous iron therapy and half of them were transfused, although inappropriately in 1 case. The increase in the intravenous epoetin alfa plus iron group was 1.7 g dL(-1) (range, 10.9-12.6) and only 25% were transfused. CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous iron therapy improved the preoperative hemoglobin levels in anemic patients scheduled for major orthopedic surgery. This is a new intravenous treatment approach to evaluate.