What is Serum Ferritin?

May 13, 2010

Serum Ferritin is a protein in the cells. This protein stores iron so that your body can use it later. When a ferritin test is done, it measures the quantity of iron in your blood. The level of serum ferritin in your blood is related directly to the quantity of iron stored in your body.

How is the Test Done?

In order to check the level of serum ferritin, the health care specialist would need to draw some amount of blood from your vein. The vein that is chosen is normally the one on the inside of your elbow. Alternatively, the vein could also be on the back of your hand. The area is cleaned using an antiseptic medicine, and an elastic band is tightly wrapped around the arm to give pressure to the puncture site. This also makes the vein that needs to be punctured, swell up with blood.

After this, medical specialist, inserts a needle into the vein and collects the blood in an airtight tube that is attached to the needle. The elastic band is then removed from your arm. After the blood is collected, the needle is removed and the area is covered to stop the flow of blood. In babies and small children, the health care specialist uses a sharp tool known as a lancet to puncture the skin to make it bleed. The blood collects in a small glass tube known as a pipette, or on a test strip. Following this, a bandage is placed over the area to stop the bleeding.

Preparing for the Test

In order to prepare for the test, your physician may ask you to stop taking any medicines as these can affect the test results.

  • Feeling: You may feel a sharp sting when the needle is inserted into the skin. You may also feel some throbbing later on.
  • Reason: This test is performed to measure the quantity of iron in your body. This test is very important because iron is essential for the production of red blood cells.

Meaning of abnormal results: If the test results are abnormal, then it means that a person has an inflammatory disorder. A very high level of serum ferritin may be because of an alcoholic liver disease, regular transfusion of packed red blood cells and hemochromatosis. A lower level of ferritin can result from heavy periods, intestinal problems that can lead to poor absorption of iron, anemia or long-term digestive tract bleeding.

Submitted by M T on May 13, 2010 at 08:12

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