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Iron, Transferrin and % Transferrin Saturation Panel, Plasma / Serum

Item Value
Clinical Questions Does my patient have anemia due to a nutritional deficiency?
Does my patient have hemochromatosis?
Approval req'd? No
Available Stat? No
Test code FE
Test group Iron
Performed by
Iron Parnassus & Mission Bay Chemistry
Transferrin Immunology
In House Availability Iron: Daily (all shifts)
Transferrin & % Sat: Monday-Friday (day shift)
Method Ferrozine Spectrophotometric & Rate nephelometry
Patient Preparation An 8 hour fast before specimen collection is preferred.
Collection Instructions Avoid hemolysis.
Container type Light green top preferred, Gold top acceptable
Amount to Collect 3 mL blood
Sample type Plasma or serum
Preferred volume 1.5 mL plasma or serum
UCSF Rejection Criteria Lipemia, hemolyzed
Processing notes Avoid contamination of Iron by pouring or using plastic pipette to transfer serum. Store at 2-8 C. Do NOT use a glass pipette.
Units µg/dL, mg/dL, %
Normal range Iron:
Age Male Female
0 - 1 week 100 - 250 µg/dL 100 - 250 µg/dL
1 week - 1 year 40 - 100 µg/dL 40 - 100 µg/dL
1 - 6 years 22 - 136 µg/dL 22 - 136 µg/dL
6 - 10 years 39 - 136 µg/dL 39 - 136 µg/dL
10 - 14 years 28 - 134 µg/dL 45 - 145 µg/dL
14 - 18 years 34 - 162 µg/dL 28 - 184 µg/dL
> 18 years 42 - 175 µg/dL 29 - 189 µg/dL

Transferrin 182-360 mg/dL

Transferrin Saturation 10-47%

1. Normal range for infants 0-1 year adapted from "Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry" Tietz, 5th edition, 2001.
2. Normal range for children 1-18 years adopted from Soldin, Steven J, "Pediatric Reference Intervals", 6th edition, AACC Press, 2007, method 1.
3. Normal range for adults was determined by testing 271 male and female healthy blood donors at UCSF.
Turn around times 1-3 days
Additional information Note: Iron and transferrin may be ordered separately.

Saturation is calculated from the iron and transferrin levels and cannot be ordered separately. See also Ferritin, the level of which is the single most sensitive test for the detection of iron deficiency short of examining the bone marrow for stainable iron. A transferrin saturation of ≥ 45% has been employed as a screen for iron overload due to hereditary hemochromatosis, and may warrant further evaluation. See: Adams PC, et al. 2000. Population screening for hemochromatosis: a comparison of unbound iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation, and C282Y genotyping in 5211 voluntary blood donors Hepatology 31:1160-1164. Brandhagen D J, et al. 2002. Recognition and Management of hereditary hemochromatosis. Amer. Fam. Physician 65:853-860. Fletcher L M, et al. 2002. Haemochromatosis: understanding the mechanism of diseases and implications for diagnosis and patient management following the recent cloning of novel genes involved in iron metabolism. J. Intern. Med. 251:181-192.

Gadolinium MR contrast agents including Gadodiamide (Omniscan), Gadoversetamide (Optimark), Gadopentetate Dimeglumine (Magnevist), and Gadoterdiol (Prohance), have been shown to interfere with certain colorimetric assays used in the measurement of various serum cations including iron, magnesium, and calcium. The UCSF clinical labs utilize a colorimetric assay for the measurement of both serum iron and serum magnesium that are subject to this interference.

For serum iron, gadolinium containing agents (Gadodiamide, Gadoversetamide, and Gadopentetate) may produce a falsely low result (on average, 75, 78, and 88% respectively, of the actual iron concentration). See "Calcium" and "Magnesium" entries for respective interferences.


Proctor et al. Gadolinium Magnetic Resonance contrast Agents produce Analytic Interference in Multiple Serum Assays. Am J Clin Pathol. 2004;121:282-292.
CPT coding 84466, 83540
LOINC code 39778-6
Last Updated 6/20/2016 12:55:39 PM
Entry Number 576
Lab Procedure Link Click here for Procedure
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