Iron And Total Iron binding CapacityIron is essential to the formation and function of hemoglobin, as well as many other heme and nonheme compounds. After iron is absorbed by the intestine, it's distributed to various body compartments for synthesis, storage, and transport. Serum iron concentration is normally highest in the morning and declines progressively during the day; thus, the sample should be drawn in the morning.
An iron assay is used to measure the amount of iron bound to transferring in blood plasma. Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) measures the amount of iron that would appear in plasma if all the transferring were saturated with iron.Serum iron and TIBC are of greater diagnostic usefulness when performed with the serum ferritin assay, but together these tests may not accurately reflect the state of other iron compartments, such as myoglobin iron and the labile iron pool. Bone marrow or liver biopsy, and iron absorption or excretion studies may yield more information
Procedure and posttest care
Normal serum iron and TlBC values are as follows:
In iron deficiency, serum iron levels decrease and TlBC increases, decreasing saturation. In cases of chronic inflammation (such as in rheumatoid arthritis), serum iron may be low in the presence of adequate body stores, but TIBC may remain unchanged or may decrease to preserve normal saturation. Iron overload may not alter serum levels until relatively late but, in general, serum iron increases and TlBC remains the same, which increases the saturation.
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