AsseyMethod: Photo Colorimetric
Abbrevation: Fe
Sector: Biochemistry
SampleType: S
S.Vol: -
Transport: at 2-8˚c, -20˚c
Storage: 4 days at 15-25˚c ,7 days at 2-8˚c
Test Name: Iron
Normal Range: Adult female:90-150 Adult male:50-160 child:48-155

This test is related to
Why get tested?

To evaluate your body's current store of iron

When to get tested?

Serum iron blood tests are not performed routinely. Most often, serum iron levels are tested if your doctor thinks that you might have too much iron in your blood. A high iron level can be due to a genetic condition, multiple or extensive blood transfusions, or rarely due to ingestion of an overdose of iron (usually in children).

Previously, serum iron was also commonly requested when iron deficiency was suspected. However, it is now recommended that the amount of stored iron (in the form of ferritin) rather than serum iron is measured to aid diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia. Ferritin analysis gives a measure of body iron stores and is a better indicator of iron deficiency than measuring the iron in blood. However, serum iron blood tests can help to identify when anaemia is due to a long-term (chronic) illness.

Sample required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm

Test preparation needed?

Your doctor may request that you fast for 12 hours prior to some iron blood tests. In this case, only water is permitted. You should not take any iron tablets for 24 hours before the test. Iron is absorbed rapidly from food or tablets, and can make your blood iron levels falsely high.


What is being tested?

Iron is an essential nutrient. It is needed in small quantities to help form normal red blood cells (RBCs). Iron is a critical part of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood travels to other parts of the body. Low iron levels can lead to anaemia and the production of RBCs that are small (microcytic) and pale (hypochromic). Large quantities of iron can be toxic to the body, and absorption of too much iron over time can lead to the accumulation of iron compounds in organs and tissues. This can damage organs such as the liver, joints, heart, and pancreas.

Iron is normally absorbed from food in the small intestine and transported throughout the body bound to transferrin, a transport protein produced by the liver. About 70% of the iron transported is incorporated into the haemoglobin inside RBCs. Most of the rest is stored in the tissues as ferritin or haemosiderin. Small amounts of iron are used to produce other proteins such as myoglobin (the oxygen carrying protein in muscle), and some enzymes.

Iron tests evaluate the amount of iron in the body by measuring several substances in the blood. These tests [namely transferrin or TIBC, ferritin-see in detail below] are often requested at the same time and the results considered together to help diagnose and/or monitor iron deficiency or iron overload.

Iron deficiency may be seen with insufficient intake, inadequate absorption, or increased requirements, such as may be seen during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss.

Iron overload may be acute or chronic. Acute iron poisoning may occur, especially in children, with the ingestion of iron tablets. Chronic overload may be due to excessive intake, hereditary haemochromatosis, multiple blood transfusions or several other conditions.