From Health Facts
Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2024-02-12 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

The transferrin test is used to measure iron metabolism in patients with iron deficiency, overload, or poisoning.[1]


  • Roughly 70% of the iron in the body is found in the hemoglobin of the red blood cells (RBCs), while the other 30% is stored in the form of ferritin and hemosiderin
  • About 10% of the ingested iron is absorbed in the small intestine and transported to the bone marrow via transferrin, for incorporation into hemoglobin.
  • Serum iron determination reflects the measurement of the amount of iron bound to transferrin.

Patient Preparation

  • Patient is required to fast for 12 hours before the blood test.
  • Factors which can cause increased levels
  • Drugs: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cholestyramine, chloramphenicol, colchicine, deferoxamine, methicillin, and testosterone
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels
  • Drugs: Chloramphenicol, dextran, estrogens, ethanol, iron preparations, methyldopa, and oral contraceptives

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

Low levels indicate:

  • Malnutrition
  • Hypoproteinemia
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.