The following table provides guidance for interpretation of results of the additional tests that can be used to assess iron status.
Interpretation of Laboratory Results
|Iron deficiency without anaemia||Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)||Anaemia of chronic disease (ACD) or inflammation*||IDA + ACD||Thalassaemia minor||Iron overload|
|Haemoglobin||N||↓||↓||↓||↓ (or N)||N|
|MCV||N or ↓||↓ (or N in early IDA)||N (or mildly ↓)||↓||↓ (or N)||N|
|Serum ferritin||↓||↓||N or ↑||↓ or N||N or ↑||↑|
|Total iron binding capacity (TIBC)||N or ↑||↑||↓ or N||N or ↑||N||↓ or N|
|Transferrin saturation||↓ or N||↓||↓ or N||↓||N or ↑||↑|
|Soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR)||N or ↑||↑||N||↑||N or ↑||N|
N = normal
↓ = decreased;
↑ = increased
* may also be referred to as functional iron deficiency, ie, when iron cannot be mobilised for erythropoiesis despite adequate stores.
- British Columbia Medical Association. Iron Deficiency – Investigation and Management, June 2010. Available from:http://www.bcguidelines.ca.
- Pasricha SR, Flecknoe-Brown SC, Allen KJ, Gibson PR, McMahon LP, Olynyk JK, et al. Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anaemia: a clinical update. MJA 2010;193:525–532. Available from: http://www.mja.com.au.