Iron is normally stored in the body as ferritin, a small
fraction of which circulates in blood. The concentration of serum
ferritin is directly related to tissue stores and levels vary
depending on age and sex. Ferritin is generally more accurate than
iron and TIBC (transferrin) for the assessment of iron status.
Unfortunately, serum ferritin is raised in acute and chronic
disorders such as liver disease, inflammation or malignancy which
limits its use as a diagnostic test for iron deficiency. Serum
ferritin is increased in patients with haemochromatosis.
Request on ICE
On request. Requests should not be repeated within one
Assessment of iron status in suspected iron deficiency
Same day (Monday to Friday)
No specific collection conditions.
Causes for Rejection
Unlabelled or incorrectly labelled sample
Adult: 15-300 ng/mL
Following the menopause, levels in women progressively approach
those for adult males.
Decreased levels indicate iron deficiency. Levels of up to 100
µg/L may be found in patients with iron deficiency when this
co-exists with inflammation, liver disease or malignancy (acute
phase response) as these disorders increase ferritin above basal
Increased levels occur with iron overload (haemochromatosis and
haemosiderosis) but transferrin saturation is a better
screening test for these disorders.