Alphabetical Test listing


  • Screening for nutritional status
  • Differential diagnosis of anemia
  • Monitoring anemia treatment


Lithium heparin (Li hep) plasma
1.0 mL
0.25 mL

Immediately following collection, mix sample thoroughly by gentle inverting 8 - 10 times to prevent clotting


Spin within two (2) hours of sample collection


Lt green plasma separator (PST)


Immediately following collection, thoroughly mix sample by gently inverting 5 times




  1. Allow sample to clot for a minimum of 30 minutes
  2. Spin within two (2) hours of sample collection


  1. Allow sample to clot
  2. Spin
  3. Transfer serum to a False bottom plasma/serum transport vial/tube (AHL), labelled as serum, within two (2) hours of sample collection

Refrigerated (preferred) - 8 days

Ambient: 8 days

Frozen - 6 months

  • Improper labels (unlabeled or mislabeled)
  • Hemolysis (some procedures)
  • Improper anticoagulant or ratio
  • Delay in transport
  • Improper storage temperature affecting results
  • Inappropriate timing of collection
  • Improper container
  • Leaking container resulting in compromised specimen
  • Quantity not sufficient (QNS)
AHL - Chemistry: C
1 - 2 days



200 - 360 mg/dL


Transferrin is a β-globulin, synthesized primarily in the liver, which is the principal protein responsible for iron transport. Transferrin transports ferric ions from the iron stores of intracellular or mucosal ferritin to bone marrow where erythrocyte precursors and other cells have transferrin surface receptors. Transferrin is responsible for 50% to 70% of the iron binding capacity of serum. Since other proteins may bind iron, transferrin concentration correlates with, but is not identical to, Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC).

Iron deficiency and iron overload are best diagnosed using a combination of iron, transferrin, and ferritin determinations.

Decreased levels of transferrin are also associated with conditions involving chronic liver disease, malnutrition, nephrotic syndrome, protein-losing enteropathies, iron overload due to multiple transfusion or hereditary hemochromatosis, and congenital atransferrinemia.

Elevated levels of transferrin are associated with iron deficiency anemia where elevated transferrin often precedes the appearance of anemia by days to months. Transferrin levels are also elevated with increased estrogen due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives, etc.