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Percent Transferrin Saturation

The percent transferrin saturation is the serum iron divided by the total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) and is useful in evaluating the status of the body iron storage
Serum Iron Concentration:

 Men: 65 to 176 μg/dL (11.6-31.7 μmol/L)
Women: 50 to 170 μg/dL (9.0-30.4 μmol/L)
Newborns: 100 to 250 μg/dL
Children: 50 to 120 μg/dL
Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC):

250-370 μg/dL (45-66 μmol/L)

Background Info

The transferrin saturation (measured as a percentage), is useful in evaluating anemia, iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia.  It is the value of serum iron divided by the total iron-binding capacity.  It gives the precentage of transferrin available that is bound to iron and ranges from  15-50% in males,  or 12-45% in females.   Some references list the normal ranges as 20-50% in males,  or 15-50% in females.   Translation:  a value of 20 percent means that 20% of iron-binding sites of transferrin are being occupied by iron. The three results are usually reported together:

Serum iron: 60-170 μg/dL (10-30 μmol/L)
Total iron-binding capacity: 240-450 μg/dL
Transferrin saturation: 15-50% (males), 12-45% (females)


Percent transferrin saturation =  serum iron/TIBC x 100



Fairbanks VF, Baldus WP: Iron overload. In Hematology. Fourth edition. Edited by WJ Williams, AJ Erslev, MA Lichtman. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1990, pp 482-505.


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