Iron infusion

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Iron infusion

Postby Cath » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:38 pm


When I saw the consultant last week, he told me he would like me to have an iron infusion. I've had a search around the bulletin board but I'm still not 100% sure what this involves. Can anyone help out?

Also, I've been told it will take 6 1/2 hours. Can I take a laptop to watch a film? I'm not sure how these things work!

Thanks in advance for your help :)

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Postby jenjen » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:21 pm

hi cath

I have never heard of an iron infusion that takes that long!

When I was on CAPD I was getting some kind of iron infusion, but this only took about 15 minutes to administer. I am not sure exactly what it was- It was a very gloopy substance (iron mixed with something else, possibly sucrose?? not sure I'm afraid) injected straight into my vein over 15 minutes, and I used to get a horrid liquorice taste in my mouth during it-- yuck as I *HATE* liquorice!

The 6 and a half hour thing is probably using an IV pump rather than a straight-up injection, and will depend on unit protocol/procedures

I am really sorry I can't remember!! But it deffo only took 15 minutes.


edit!! This is what I had, iron sucrose injection ... enofer.asp

There are two ways of administering it: non-diluted push injection (15 mins) and mixed with saline, which takes longer as it is dripped in.

Do check with your unit though about what exactly they do
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Postby Angel » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:46 pm

Hi Cath

I see you are at Bristol, which is where I am also based. When I was on APD I had an iron infusion that took longer than this and it was administered using a venflon in a vein. This was because my iron was extremely low and I really needed to boost it up. Now I am on haemo we have now switched to the venofer Jen describes but it is done every week and keeps us topped up rather than as a boost.
They may also be adding the time taken to have a test dose if you need one as Bristol give a small amount first before the full wack to make sure you are not going to have a reaction to it.
The only thing you have to bear in mind in terms of keeping yourself occupied is that one arm maybe moreorless out of action-depending where they site the venflon, but I would imagine a laptop would be ok to take.
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Postby kiskeam » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:01 pm

Hi Cath,
I have my Iron infused at Salford Royal about once a year. I've just been told I need to go again because my iron is low. Its only been 6month since my last lot.

It a very simple procedure at Salford. They have a Iron Clinic where you all sit round with the iron going into my arm. Whole procedure takes about 30mins from checking in to checking out. I will go every week at the same time for 5 weeks.

Its painless (except for the little prick). I've never tasted the liquorice someelse mentioned. I like liquorice so I wouldn't mind.

You feel brill by about the 2nd or 3rd infusion.

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Postby alishe » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:04 pm

it only last 30 minutes, are you sure you have not missed heard, as its for 6 weeks once a week.

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Iron infusion

Postby Cath » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:31 am

Hi all

Thanks for your replies. I was definitely told it would take 6.5 hours and is a one off procedure. I'm not on dialysis yet (although I did go onto the transplant list yesterday).

Maybe Southmead do things differently to other units? I'm sure there must be different ways of doing it and maybe, as Angel suggests, it also includes the time for the test dose (and reaction time). I've been told I'll have to wait 5-6 weeks to get an appointment for it. I'm hoping that it gives me some more energy. I'm working full-time and by the end of the week I'm exhausted!


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Postby JB » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:34 am

Hi Cath
I am also having an iron infusion in April mine is also for for 6 hours! At Addenbrookes you are given the choice of breaking it down into 3 two hourly sessions or have the whole lot in one go to save all the journeys, i believe this is quite a commonplace procedure here, so dont think you have heard wrongly, maybe your hospital does the same.
I have done the 2 hourly sessions before about 5 years ago and had no problems with them. Good luck.

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Postby res » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:55 am

I used to have the iron infusions that are supposed to last thirty minutes, however, because I have daft veins it was taking a lot longer and I was usually first in and last out in the iron clinic. In the end I got offered a different type of infusion that I was told would last 6-7 hours through a cannula. I was offered this alternative of a one off infusion due to the shorter infusions once a week, over a few weeks taking so long. I didn't need to have any more infusions after that, but was told if I did, I should have the one off six hour one. All I remember them saying about it is that it gets done on the ward so that they can monitor there are no reactions due to the length of the infusion. I think I remember the nurse saying that the longer infusion can make you feel very warm?! Sorry I don't have any more information than that! My memory of it all is a bit dodgy, although I do remember the amount of times they used to have to stop the shorter infusions to change the needle!

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Postby Cheryl in CT » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:55 am

Hi, all -

In the last few months before my transplant, I had iron infusions weekly - and for me, they took 4-5 hours each time, as I recall. I'm in the US, so my experience may be different....

In the hospital where I had the infusions done, I had to sit in an outpatient room filled with about a dozen fairly comfortable reclining chairs. Each chair had an IV pole next to it, and most days, there was a patient "hooked up" in every chair.

The folks who shared the room were all receiving different infusions. Some were getting whole blood, others saline and/or meds, and yet others, chemo. (It was most difficult when one particular chemo patient was there, because he always got sick during his time in the chair, which made the entire room decidedly unpleasant.)

Various people watched TV, worked on their laptops, or read; one woman was even knitting, tho with one arm imobilized, that had to be difficult. Others simply snoozed. I always just read or did some writing (I never get needles in my right arm - they make it ache for days, and I can't manage without my right hand!) The time did drag a bit, but like anything else, it wasn't all that bad...

Different procedures at different places, I guess... My doctor told me that the iron had to go in very slowly - thus the reason for the long infusion time. It was only one IV bag, followed by a "quick" bag of saline, but that iron must have gone in drip by drip, because it seemed to take forever before I could notice that the level in the bag had begun to go down.

Hope this helps, especially for those of you anticipating the LONG infusion.

all the best,
Cheryl in CT
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Postby BusyBee » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:50 pm

Hi Cath

I had iron infusions this time last year - mine was done with a drip in the top of my hand - usually last 30-45mins weekly for 6 weeks - believe me you feel so much better after 2nd or 3rd time. your not restricted (only sit up in bed) so you can use your laptop etc but time fly's as you talking to the nurse and get a cuppa!! I never had any funny tastes!
Best of luck
Mel x
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Postby amanda in CA » Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:17 pm

I've had iron as a bolus, (injected in via a syringe given over about 10 mins) but it can be given as others have said as a drip given over about an hour. When you get it as a bolus, you definately get a taste in your mouth. Doesn't taste like liqorice to me. I'm not sure if you will understand me when I say a taste can taste like a smell, but to me it tastes like when you turn an electric fire on that hasn't been used for a while and you can smell the dust burning off.
amanda in CA
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Postby eliznew412 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:09 pm

A registrar had me booked in for an iron infusion. I 'discussed' it with him and told him I would see my consultant first before a 4hr iron infusion drip. When I saw the consultant the said my iron was normal but that if EPO is used within the near future the iron reserved become so quickly drained that the renal patient has to have above normal iron levels prior to having EPO.

I felt in my case it was all a bit pre-emptive. The whole IV drilp thing was 2 years ago. I stil haven't had the drip and my haemoglobbin is still normal. - was also told in 2006 I'd be on dialysis in 2 years. 2 years on and my funcition is what it was 2 years ago!

I don't know how long I'll beat the odds but thought I'd mention it because of being told renal patients need above normal iron levels. Bad reation to (copper sulphate I think it is) is quite rare but does happen. I haven't heard that they've introduced a 6 hr IV drip.
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Postby missyh » Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:41 pm

Hi Cath,
I am also at Bristol,
The iron infusion I had took about 4 hours and this was done through a venflon in my arm,(couldn't get one in in the back of my hand!)
I believe the first one does take longer as mentioned before as they do it slower to make sure you don't get an allergic reaction.
It is also advised you take lunch, tea & coffee is provided.
I see no problems in taking your laptop, unless like me you have the venflon in your arm, in which case you have to keep your arm straight.
This was done in the day case unit and was perfectly ok to drive home straight afterwards.
Might see you around in clinic as I am post transplant and am there fortnightly at the moment.
PM me if you want further advice.
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Postby JMan » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:54 pm

I can remember very slow iron infusions vaughly.

One iron infusion giving by a youngish doctor who was determined to force it in, even tho the needle wasn't in my vein. I was right, he was wrong. All I actually wanted to do at the time was throttle him!

More usually I get I IV iron whilst on haemo. It takes a short while usually toward the end of the session. It seems to work fairly well along with EPO:)
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Iron Infusion

Postby parbrook » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:15 pm

Had my first Iron Infusion at Southmead (Bristol) today.
Was told that the first one would take 5:30 hours.
In the end, it took 15 mins.

The reason is that they normally use Iron Dextran, which takes 5:30 hours the first time and 4 or 5 hours for repeats.

However, they had recently run out of Iron Dextran and could not get any, so they were using a batch of Ferinject, which only takes 15 mins.

Anyone having iron in the next week or so at Southmead can expect Ferinject.

One this batch is finished, they will be back to using Iron Dextran again, becuase it costs three times less, unless they can convince the powers that be to stump-up the extra cost of Ferinject.
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