Values obtained with different assay methods should not be used interchangeably in serial testing. It is recommended that only one assay method be used consistently to monitor each patient's course of therapy. This procedure does not provide serial monitoring; it is intended for one-time use only. If serial monitoring is required, please order the serial monitoring test 480111.
This test may exhibit interference when sample is collected from a person who is consuming a supplement with a high dose of biotin (also termed as vitamin B7 or B8, vitamin H, or coenzyme R). It is recommended to ask all patients who may be indicated for this test about biotin supplementation. Patients should be cautioned to stop biotin consumption at least 72 hours prior to the collection of a sample.
Within 1 day
Turnaround time is defined as the usual number of days from the date of pickup of a specimen for testing to when the result is released to the ordering provider. In some cases, additional time should be allowed for additional confirmatory or additional reflex tests. Testing schedules may vary.
Serum (preferred) or plasma
0.7 mL (Note: This volume does not allow for repeat testing.)
Red-top tube, gel-barrier tube, or green-top (lithium heparin) tube. Do not use oxalate, EDTA, or citrate plasma.
If a red-top tube or plasma is used, transfer separated serum or plasma to a plastic transport tube.
Citrate plasma specimen; improper labeling
Diagnose hypochromic, microcytic anemias. Decreased in iron deficiency anemia and increased in iron overload. Ferritin levels correlate with and are useful in evaluation of total body storage iron. In hemochromatosis, both ferritin and iron saturation are increased. Ferritin levels in hemochromatosis may be >1000 ng/mL.
Ferritin is an acute-phase reactant and thus may be increased in people with inflammation, liver disease, chronic infection, autoimmune disorders, and some types of cancer. Ferritin measurement is of limited usefulness during pregnancy because it diminishes late in pregnancy, even when bone marrow iron is present.
As with all tests containing monoclonal mouse antibodies, erroneous findings may be obtained from samples taken from patients who have been treated with monoclonal mouse antibodies or have received them for diagnostic purposes.1 In rare cases, interference due to extremely high titers of antibodies to streptavidin and ruthenium can occur.1
Electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA)
0 to 5 m
6 to 12 m
1 to 5 y
6 to 11 y
12 to 19 y
Ferritin is found in virtually all cells of the body and serves as the cellular storage repository for iron.2,3 Ferritin is a macromolecule with an average molecular weight of near 440 kD that varies depending on the iron content. Ferritin consists of a protein shell (apoferritin) of 24 subunits surrounding an iron core consisting of up to 4000 ferric iron ions. The majority of ferritin iron stores are found in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Ferritin is present in small concentration correlates with total-body iron stores, making its measurement valuable for the assessment of disorders of iron metabolism.
Low levels of ferritin can be found when iron stores are exhausted, well before the serum iron level has become affected. In the setting of anemia, low serum ferritin is a very specific biomarker for iron deficiency anemia. In fact, there is no clinical situation other than iron deficiency in which extremely low values of serum ferritin are seen; however, some clinical states involving infection or inflammation can cause the ferritin level in the serum of patients with iron deficiency to increase into the normal range. Ferritin is an acute-phase reactant that is thought to play a role in the body's defense against oxidative stress and inflammation. Increased ferritin values can also be observed in malignant disease, including acute leukemia; Hodgkin's disease; and carcinoma of the lung, colon, liver, and prostate. Consequently, serum ferritin in the normal range reflects iron sufficiency only in the absence of these conditions.
Patients with a serum ferritin concentration below the lower limit of the reference interval have a very high probability of being iron deficient; however, given the low sensitivity of a low ferritin level (below the lower limit of normal), a higher ferritin cutoff may be more appropriate for screening for potential iron deficiency in some populations.4-7 It is exceedingly uncommon for ferritin levels to exceed 100 ng/mL in patients with iron deficiency.6,7
An elevated ferritin level can result from iron overload due, in part, to increased hepatic ferritin synthesis.8 Iron overload can occur in hemochromatosis, other excess iron storage disorders, and in individuals who have received multiple blood transfusions. Ferritin can also become markedly elevated secondary to obesity, chronic alcohol consumption, steatohepatitis, chronic inflammation, viral hepatitis, and malignancy. The increased prevalence of obesity has likely resulted in the increased incidence of ferritin elevations, as fatty liver may be the most common cause of an elevated serum ferritin.8 Clinical assessment is required to determine whether the serum ferritin elevation is related to hemochromatosis or another underlying liver disease.9 To confirm the diagnosis of hemochromatosis, other iron tests (iron, TIBC), and genetic testing may be performed.
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