Blood Transfusion or Iron Infusion????

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 4/5/2010 11:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Which one should I ask for? Risks to both, but really don't know them all. Please comment if you have experienced thoughts. Hemoglobin is 74, supposed to be somewhere above 120!
blacky - Donna
Mother of 3, 3 resections from CD

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Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1202
   Posted 4/5/2010 11:53 AM (GMT -7)   
I've had both, the blood transfusion right after a major hemorrhage and iron infusions otherwise. My doc told me, when I asked why iron and not blood, that there are more risks associated with a blood transfusion than iron. I don't know the details though. The iron infusions take a while to kick in whereas the blood transfusion helped quickly. With the blood, they did not take me back up to my "normal" level through transfusions. They stopped about a unit short and let my body make the rest.

Good luck!
1 fistula, crohn's colitis, limited to large intestine
Compounded budesonide 3mg/daily, Cimzia, MTX . Dx Osteoporosis 10/08 started Forteo 1/27/09

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 4/5/2010 11:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, I have had a blood transfusion before and felt better quite quickly but now the GP would rather I do Iron instead. What do you take for your short gut, I take Cholestyramine.
blacky - Donna
Mother of 3, 3 resections from CD

Julia Hill
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 560
   Posted 4/5/2010 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
It takes 2 weeks for the iron to form red blood cells therefore you may require a blood transfusion first, then an iron infusion. Been there and done that, take a book and a snack and enjoy the rest.


New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 4/7/2010 1:29 PM (GMT -7)   
I have actually been in the same exact situation.  I used to have blood transfusion every year or so.  Most recently, I dropped incredibly low again but when they did they blood tests they also discovered I had practically NO iron.  The hematologist was shocked and had me in the hospital immediately getting an iron infusion.  Since then, I have had three more iron infusion in the past four months.  I am not sure if it is really helping.  I wanted the immediate results I experienced with the blood transfusion.  But, my doctors seem to think this is a long term regiment.  Where I would have these iron infusions every few months to keep things stable.  So, suffice to say, the procedure felt much the same, the results have been different... 
I am not sure this helps at all...but I am there with you.
Good luck!

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Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 559
   Posted 4/7/2010 2:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Although it's not exactly a replacement for iron or blood transfusions, low iron levels can be caused by a lack of vitamin B12. If you've had a bowel resection (as many of us have), then you may have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 no matter how much of it you eat (even as pill supplements). In that case, a monthly or even twice monthly vitamin B12 shot is a good idea. It's something you can learn to do yourself.

All of this is not to suggest that you will never need iron infusions again if you take B12 shots. But it may help. It's something you should be asking your doctor about, if you haven't already.

Crohn's since 1988
3 resections

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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 4/7/2010 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I had iron infusion b12 mine was at 69
not good i had no problems with it felt great after
now i give self b 12 shots wekly
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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 50
   Posted 4/10/2010 12:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I had five iron infusion treatments over a period of two months. My hemoglobin was at 8, and went up to 14 where it has stayed ever since. I felt like a new person within weeks. My only problem is that for insurance reasons, I started with an iron dextran infusion. Its known to cause serious allergic reactions, so they give you a test dose. A nurse was by my side, luckily, because I went into anaphalactic shock and couldn't breathe. It was a scary few minutes. However, there is an alternative infusion, iron sucrose, that my insurance was too cheap to pay for until I tried the other. It worked fine with no problems. I haven't done transfusions, as I wanted to avoid any possible risks of blood transfusions. I can say that personally I found the infusion very helpful and would do it again if my iron dropped down too low.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 4/10/2010 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the help. However i am still on the fence. My B12 has been checked and not that low, have had in injection to boost it.

New question. I already get iron shots weekly. if that isn't working, do you think the iron infusion will work?

And why do we all have low hemoglobin???????? What is the deal? I don't feel like the crohn's is active, so this has me wondering.
blacky - Donna
Mother of 3, 3 resections from CD

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 4/11/2010 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
I think the Iron infusion would work better than the shots. I think you get more iron in the infusion. I think and I may be wrong, but usually when we get anemic its because we have some kind of bleeding going on unbeknowst to us. I had my infusion about 1 1/2 years ago and haven't needed another.
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