Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) Test

TIBC Test: Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) Test Measures Total Hemoglobin Concentration. TIBC Test is used to assess hemoglobin levels in patients with chronic diseases such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, sickle cell anemia complex and other disorders that cause low hemoglobin concentration. TIBC test may be useful in determining whether a patient needs transfusions or dialysis. TIBC test is not specific for sickle cell disease. TIBC test is less sensitive than the hemoglobin A1C test. TIBC test has been shown to have good sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing certain types of anemia. TIBC is considered accurate at 1% level. Blood samples are taken from the arm veins using venipuncture technique with a needle attached to a syringe pump connected to a collection tube which collects blood into separate containers. The sample is then sent to a laboratory where the hemoglobin content is measured. TIBC test uses hemoglobin as its standard measure of hemoglobin concentration. Hematocrit measures how much red blood cells there are in the body. The higher the number, the more red blood cells there are in your body. Hematocrit measurement is usually done during physical examination of a person to determine if they have enough red blood cells to carry out their vital functions properly. Low hematocrit can cause anemia. It can also be used to determine how much blood loss has occurred. The higher the number, the more likely a person is to have better delivery of oxygen throughout the body. The standard range for hematocrit is normally between 40 and 55%. If the number is lower than normal, it is less than 35%, it is considered anemic.

What is TIBC test?

As a whole, iron is an essential mineral that helps the human body with blood production. The body uses iron to make red blood cells and store it in the liver, bone marrow, and other organs. A condition called iron deficiency anemia may occur if the body does not have enough iron. This condition can be caused by prolonged bleeding, a lack of dietary intake of iron, or other underlying medical conditions.

What is known as the total iron binding capacity (TIBC) test used to assess the level of liver stored iron by measuring the amount of iron that binds to transferrin in the blood. This test is usually used to determine if a person has enough stored iron and whether or not they require a blood transfusion.

While there are several tests used to measure the body’s iron levels, this one is considered to be the most accurate. For this test, a blood sample is drawn from a vein and the sample is sent to a lab for analysis.

What are the uses of TIBC test?

TIBC test is used to assess the level of iron in the liver by measuring the amount of transferrin that is bound to iron. This type of test may be used to help determine if a person requires a blood transfusion.

What are the types of the TIBC test?

There are three types of the test:

Serum iron test measures the amount of iron in the blood that isn’t attached to a protein.

TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) test measures the total amount of iron binding capacity, which is a measure of transferrin that is available to bind iron and transport it through the blood.

UIBC (Unbound Iron Binding Capacity). This test measures the amount of transferrin that is not bound to iron.

What are the causes of TIBC test?

TIBC test may be performed if a person has had excessive blood loss or if they have an underlying medical condition that affects iron levels in the body. These conditions can include pregnancy, gastrointestinal bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, blood cancer, or even high levels of alcohol intake.

What are the risks of TIBC test?

There are no significant risks associated with this test. There is little to no discomfort involved, and any discomfort that may be experienced can be managed with pain medication.

TIBC test is a simple blood draw that can provide useful information about a person’s liver stores of iron and their risk for developing anemia.

What are the types of results for the test?

The results of the test are usually normal. Some conditions that may alter the results are:

Abnormally low iron levels. This may be due to a bleeding disorder or an underlying condition such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

Abnormally high iron levels. Conditions such as hemochromatosis, liver diseases, or blood disorders may cause high iron levels.

What do your results mean?

The results of your test show that you have a normal level of transferrin saturation. Your doctor will likely recommend that you continue routine check-ups with your family doctor or general internist.

How is the test interpreted?

Interpretation of the test is based on the amount of transferrin that is bound to iron in the blood. The higher the number, the greater the chance of having a condition that causes abnormal bleeding.

What is the reference range for the test?

The normal range is 11.4-16.1 grams/dL

Who should the test be performed?

The test may be used to assess the risk of anemia in pregnant women, people with gastrointestinal bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, blood cancer or high alcohol intake. It may also be used to assess transfusion needs in people with a low red blood cell count.

Who should not get the test?

Anyone who is moderately or severely anemic should not get this test. This test may not be accurate in people with severe anemia.

How do you prepare for the test?

No special preparation is required for this test. On the day of the test, you only need to refrain from eating or drinking for eight hours before the test.

Sources & references used in this article:

Serum iron and total iron-binding capacity compared with serum ferritin in assessment of iron deficiency. by F Peter, S Wang – Clinical chemistry, 1981 –

Total iron binding capacity and transferrin concentration in the assessment of iron status by I Kasvosve, J Delanghe – Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory …, 2002 –

The total iron-binding capacity in iron poisoning: Is it useful? by M Tenenbein, RW Yatscoff – American Journal of Diseases of …, 1991 –

Modification of fully automated total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) assay in serum and comparison with dimension TIBC method by H Yamanishi, S Iyama, Y Yamaguchi… – Clinical …, 2002 –

Simplified determination of serum iron and total iron-binding capacity by JA O’Malley, A Hassan, J Shiley, H Traynor – Clinical chemistry, 1970 –

The determination of the total iron-binding capacity of serum by WNM Ramsay – Clinica chimica acta, 1957 – Elsevier

Usefulness of the total iron binding capacity in the evaluation and treatment of acute iron overdose by JE Siff, SW Meldon, AJ Tomassoni – Annals of emergency medicine, 1999 – Elsevier

Diagnostic accuracy of serum iron and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) in iron deficiency state by N Asif, A Ijaz, T Rafi, ZH Haroon, S Bashir… – J Coll Physicians Surg …, 2016 –