The Western Australian Government has announced funding for a trial iron injection therapy across all of the state’s intensive care units over the next 24 months, a move which is hoped to be key in reducing blood transfusion use.


State Health Minister Kim Hames said the therapy could potentially reduce blood transfusion use and related adverse effects,  ultimately saving lives and reducing expenses.


Dr Hames said the trial had received funding under the State Health Research Advisory Council (SHRAC) Research Translation Projects grants program – an annual funding round aimed at supporting health and medical research.


Dr Hames said the IRONMAN trial, which would enrol 190 anaemic patients receiving treatment in intensive care units across the metropolitan area, was a clear example of the multiple benefits that could be realised through research.

“Between 17-45 per cent of patients admitted to an intensive care unit are reported to receive a red blood cell transfusion,” he said.

“Blood transfusion is not only expensive - costing the health system about $875 to transfuse each unit - it also increases the risk of infection and other serious complications.

“It is hoped that by giving critically-ill patients suffering from anaemia an iron injection instead of a blood transfusion, we will be able to save money and more importantly, save lives as well.”