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PTD - 320

Test Directory -  Zinc

Clinical Indications

Zinc may be lost following operations or severe infection and upon recovery, acute zinc deficiency may be precipitated. Inadequate supplementation of zinc in patients on TPN may occur and zinc levels should be assessed according to local guidelines. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include characteristic rash, abdominal pain and diarrhoea with depression and lethargy.

Zinc deficiency may occur in premature infants prior to weaning and in a rare inherited disorder of zinc absorption (acrodermatitis enteropathica). 

Request Form 

Combined Pathology Blood form (Yellow/Black or Blue for GP's)


Referred test: Analysed by Clinical Biochemistry, Kings Hospital, London, if specific criteria met.

Specific Criteria

Assessment of zinc status in patients on TPN
Investigation of zinc deficiency in symptomatic patients

Turnaround Time

2 Weeks




2 ml.


Pink / purple top (EDTA) or red top (plain) tube

Red top (EDTA) tube for paediatrics is preferred but orange top (lithium-heparin) can be used.

Yellow top (SST) tubes must not be used.

Causes for Rejection

Haemolysis. Unlabelled sample. Delay in sample reaching laboratory.

Reference Range

Normal levels 11 - 24 umol/L. There is diurnal variation with peak levels at 10.00 am. Zinc levels fall during acute phase response, but levels below 8 umol/L usually indicate deficiency even in presence of acute phase response.

Lab. Handling

Processing: Samples should be separated promptly (within 4 hours). Aliquot and store at 4C in separating fridge (CB39).
ZN & send; NOZN & save (NOZN2 code unsuitable sample)


Version 1.0 / July 2014                                                                                                            Approved by: Consultant Biochemist