If none of the following apply then jump straight to Diabetes

What should I do now – If you have been anaemic, or have sickle cell disease or thalassaemia then get a blood test.

Being anaemic increases your risk for an operation by 2-3 times. Checking if you are still anaemic early on, and before the operation gives you time to treat it and bring it back to normal without transfusion or excess risk

Anaemia is where the level of blood someone has is low (also know as a low blood count) and often reflects poor diet, bleeding from somewhere including periods, or other illness

There are three distinct reasons to consider finding and management of pre – operative anaemia as important:

  1. Anaemia detected during surgical preparation may be due to previously undiscovered disease, e.g. cancer.

2. To reduce the chance of having a blood transfusion, thus reducing demand on blood donors and conserving blood supplies for those patients who need it most.

3. To avoid unnecessarily exposing surgical patients to potential adverse effects of anaemia, transfusion or both.

Who to screen for anaemia

If you have a previous history of anaemia, or if you are anticipating Major Surgery (typically chest or abdominal surgery, or large joint  replacements such as hip and knee surgery), or if you are known to have a genetic blood disorder (e.g. sickle cell, thalassaemia) then an anaemia blood test at the time of referral could give you time for early treatment.  Minor surgery (to the skin, or limbs etc.) is unlikely to bleed enough to need routine blood tests for most people.


Nice recommends a FBC anaemia screen only for those undergoing Major Surgery (whatever your health) or for Intermediate Surgery (if you have disabling health problems such as COPD (chronic chest and breathing problems) or heart disease)

If you think this includes you then you can check with the surgery to see if you have a recent blood test for anaemia and arrange screening if indicated.  The form that you will find on the last page allows you to send an email message request to the surgery


Anaemia Evidence

If none of this apply then jump straight to Diabetes