ferritin in serum/plasma

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* treat for iron-deficiency anemia without testing (MKSAP19)

Reference interval

* during childhood & age 55 & older, the sex difference is not apparent.


The IMx FERRITIN assay is based on the Microparticle Enzyme Immunoassay (MEIA) technology. The reagents are added to the reaction cell in the following sequence:

Clinical significance

The availability of sensitive methods for measuring serum ferritin have significantly advanced the ability to detect iron deficiency & overload. Since iron deficiency is present before the onset of anemia, detection of an iron depleted state is important for control of nutritional anemia. Clinical assessment of iron stores has historically relied on the determination of serum iron, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) & % transferrin (ratio of serum iron & TIBC) or direct examination of bone marrow.

Low serum ferritin (< 10 ng/mL) suggests depletion of total body iron stores, but a normal value does not exclude iron deficiency since ferritin is an acute phase reactant. There are other factors that influence serum ferritin levels because of other causes, such as, hepatocellular disease or iron therapy.

Ferritin is an acute phase reactant. Serum levels are increased in response to inflammation, although seldom > 400 ng/mL. Elevated serum ferritin may be a marker of macrophage activation.

Serum ferritin > 100 ng/mL rules out iron deficiency anemia.[5]

Values of serum ferritin > 800 ng/mL suggest hemochromatosis or Still's disease.




  • Serum specimens & plasma (heparin only) may be used.
  • If the assay is to be performed within 24 hours after collection, the specimen should be stored in the refrigerator at 2-8 C. If the testing will be delayed more than 24 hours, the specimen should be frozen. Mix thoroughly after thawing to ensure consistency in the results. Avoid repeated freezing & thawing.
  • Specimens showing particulate matter, erythrocytes, or turbidity should be centrifuged before testing.

SAMPLE VOLUME: 150 uL of specimen is the minimum volume required to perform the assay.

More general terms

Additional terms

Component of


  1. Abbott Laboratories, Diagnostic Division,Abbott Park,IL.60064 Metabolic/Anemic Assays,IMx Ferritin, NOVEMBER 1989.
  2. IMx System OPERATION MANUAL, Abbott Diagnostics, A Division of Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL. 60064, August 1988.
  3. IMx System ASSAY MANUAL, Abbott Diagnostics, A Division of Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL. 60064, August 1988.
  4. Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, 3rd edition, NW Tietz ed, WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 1995
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Medical Knowledge Self Assessment Program (MKSAP) 14, 17 American College of Physicians, Philadelphia 2006, 2015
  6. Ferritin Laboratory Test Directory ARUP: http://www.aruplab.com/guides/ug/tests/0070065.jsp
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 NEJM Knowledge+ Complex Medical Care

Patient information

ferritin in serum/plasma patient information