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Laboratory Medicine

Test Directory / Iron


Brown clotted serum, gel barrier or orange lithium heparin

Common AbbreviationsFe
ProfileIron Studies/ Transferrin saturation
Tube typeBrown clotted serum, gel barrier or orange lithium heparin
Clinical IndicationSerum iron concentration is decreased in many but not all patients with iron deficiency anaemia; in acute or chronic inflammatory disorders such as acute infection, myocardial infarction, haemorrhage and late pregnancy. Serum iron concentration diminishes in patients who are beginning to respond to therapy for other anaemias, for example treatment of pernicious anaemia with Vitamin B12. Greater than normal concentrations occur in iron overload disorders such as haemochromatosis and in acute iron poisoning following oral or parenteral iron administration. Iron levels may also be increased in hepatitis, lead poisoning, acute leukaemia, thalassaemia or oral contraception.
Specimen TypeBlood
Sample typeSerum or plasma
Minimum Volume0.5mL If requesting more than 10 tests please send an additional brown clotted serum sample.
Special PrecautionsFasting sample preferred if iron overload is suspected.
Stability 3 weeks at 2-8?C or 7 days at 15-25?C
Turnaround TimeInpatient: 4 hours Outpatient/ GP: 24 hours
LaboratoryYork and Scarborough
Reference Interval 5.8-34.5 umol/L - New range as of 03/04/18 (Quoted by the manufacturer)
Limitations Iron levels increase after eating. Iron levels are a poor indicator of iron deficiency. Ferritin levels provide a more useful indication of iron stores. If ferritin measurement is contra-indicated (e.g. during the acute phase response) then measure fasting iron levels. Iron levels are of most use in assessing iron overload states. In rare instances, extremely high concentrations of monoclonal immunoglobulins (especially monoclonal IgM - Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia) may cause turbidity in the reaction cuvette and elevate direct colorimetric iron assays. Metal binding drugs (e.g. desferrioxamine) may cause flasely low results.



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