What does TRSA stand for

From Lena Machetanz, doctor
and, medical editor and biologist
All NetDoktor content is checked by medical journalists.

The Transferrin saturation is an important laboratory value when diagnosing iron deficiency. It is a measure of how much of the transport protein transferrin has bound iron, ie is "saturated". Transferrin saturation is measured in the blood serum. Read here the diagnostic clues that a change in transferrin saturation provides.

How is transferrin saturation calculated?

A blood sample is taken from the patient on an empty stomach to measure their iron and transferrin levels (from the blood serum). To calculate the transferrin saturation, divide the iron content (given in mmol / l) by the transferrin content (in mg / dl) and multiply the resulting value by a factor of 398. The result indicates in percent how much of the available transferrin is Iron is loaded.

Transferrin saturation: normal values

The following standard values ​​for transferrin saturation apply to children and adults:

When is transferrin saturation too low?

If the transferrin saturation is low, this indicates an iron deficiency. The reason for this, however, can only be determined in conjunction with other blood values. Ferritin - a protein that stores iron - is of great importance in this regard: If the transferrin saturation is only moderately low and the ferritin level is very high, there is a so-called functional iron deficiency. This develops, for example, with chronic inflammation.

If the transferrin saturation is severely reduced of less than 10 percent, there is a severe iron deficiency with anemia. Common causes for this are, for example:

  • Chronic blood loss (e.g. with heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract)
  • Reduced iron absorption, for example due to malnutrition, celiac disease or chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease
  • increased iron requirement, for example in the growth phase or during pregnancy

When is transferrin saturation too high?

An increased value occurs in the context of iron overload. Such is the case, for example, with the hereditary disease hereditary hemochromatosis. Iron overload can also develop if someone has a large number of blood transfusions in a short period of time.

If the transferrin saturation is more than 100 percent, it means that there are free iron ions in the blood. These can lead to severe iron poisoning with organ damage. Hence, the doctor must identify the cause of an increased Transferrin saturation clarify exactly and treat immediately.

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