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DefinitionA test that measures the amount of ferritin in the blood.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
How to prepare for the testThe health care provider may advise you to stop taking drugs that may affect the test (see "Special Considerations").
For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performedThis test is measures the amount of iron in the body. Iron is important for red blood cell production.
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in the body. The serum ferritin level -- the amount of ferritin in your blood -- is directly proportional to the amount of iron stored in your body.
male: 12-300 ng/ml
The lower the ferritin level, even within the "normal" range, the more likely a patient is iron deficient.
What abnormal results mean
Higher-than-normal levels may indicate:
Note: Any inflammatory disorder can raise the ferritin level.
What the risks are
Special considerationsVeins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Update Date: 6/1/2003Marcia S. Brose, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Hematology/Oncology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT