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PTD - 305

Test Directory - Transferrin Saturation

Clinical Indications

Transferrin saturation is used as a screening test for haemochromatosis, a common (1 in 200-300 individuals), autosomal recessive disorder of iron absorption, with progressively increasing iron stores and organ damage. Not all patients with the genetic abnormality may be symptomatic, but they remain at risk. Raised levels should be confirmed by genotyping for HFE mutations.
Transferrin saturation may also be helpful in screening patients with low MCV (less than 80) and raised CRP (acute phase reaction) for iron deficiency anaemia.

Request Form

Combined Pathology Blood form (Yellow/Black)


On request.

Specific Criteria

Screening for haemochromatosis.
Screening for iron deficiency anaemia in patients with MCV less than 80 and in association with acute phase reaction (raised CRP and normal/raised ferritin).

Samples referred to Basildon Hospital for Transferrin Saturation analysis from other Hospitals should be packaged in accordance with our transportation policy and will be assumed to have met the specific criteria of the referring laboratory.

 Patient Preparation

None required.

Turnaround Time

Same day




0.5 mL


Yellow top (SST) tube or

Paediatric orange top (lithium-heparin)

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled sample. Not meeting specific criteria for analysis.

  Reference Ranges /Interpretation

Transferrin saturation of less than 15% reflects iron deficiency and saturation greater than 60% suggests iron overload.

A persistent transferrin saturation >50% in the absence of other potential causes of iron overload is suggestive of hereditary haemochromatosis.

Reference: Sherwood RA, Pippard MJ, Peters TJ. Iron homeostasis and the assessment of iron status. Ann Clin Biochem 1998; 35: 693-708

Lab Handling

Processing: Analysed from primary tube and stored at 4C in the cold room (CB23)  (TFS & analyse; FE/NOFE & save)

Version 1.1 / October 2014                                                                                                      Approved by: Consultant Biochemist