What is a Ferritin test?
Written by Glenn Rosenberg   
Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ferritin is a protein found in the blood that stores iron. This test measures the amount of ferritin in the blood serum. Iron is a key factor in red blood cell production.

Who is a candidate for the test?

The ferritin test is done to find how much iron is stored in a person's body. The test is ordered if the doctor suspects that the person has either too much or too little iron in the body.

How is the test performed?

To measure the amount of ferritin in the serum, a blood sample is taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube called a tourniquet is wrapped around the upper arm. This restricts the blood flow through the veins in the lower arm causing them to enlarge. A small needle is inserted into a vein. The tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle into a syringe or vial. The sample is sent to the lab for testing. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.