The iron in your blood helps make a substance called haemoglobin. Haemoglobin carries oxygen throughout your body, allowing your tissues to breathe.

Having low levels of iron or haemoglobin can lead to several issues during surgery, including:

  • Delay to your surgery
  • Increased risk of a heart attack during or after surgery
  • Higher chance of other complications during surgery
  • Slower recovery after surgery
  • Increased likelihood of needing a blood transfusion

Low haemoglobin levels is called anaemia. The most common reason for anaemia is a lack of iron, but it can also be caused by other factors like chronic illness, deficiencies in other nutrients (folate, B12), medications or kidney disease.

It’s important to have a conversation with your doctor ahead of the surgery so they can assess your risk and tell you what steps to take before the surgery. Your doctor will do a simple blood test to determine whether you have anaemia and this will let them and you know whether you have iron deficiency, or low levels of red blood cells, and how severe it is. This will tell your doctor what the best treatment course will be.


Fit for Surgery | fit-for-surgery-factsheet.PDF (

Fit for Surgery summary | Infographicv0.4.pdf (

Local GP services offering iron infusions  | List of GP practices offering iron infusions

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