Performance characteristics of three serum iron and total iron-binding capacity methods in acute iron overdose

William L. Roberts, P. Todd Smith, Will John Martin, Petrie M. Rainey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Accurate serum iron and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) measurements may be useful in acute iron overdoses. Two alumina column TIBC methods were found to measure increased TIBC when free iron was present. A homogeneous TIBC method gave consistent results until iron concentrations exceeded 500 μg/dL (90 μmol/L), when it began to underestimate the TIBC. Serious iron overdoses require chelation therapy with deferoxamine. Iron recovery was reduced by up to 50% for all 3 methods with clinically achievable concentrations of deferoxamine 8,400 μg/dL (150 μmol/L). TIBC measurements by both alumina column methods were reduced by deferoxamine in the presence of free iron and unaffected when the iron concentration was less than the TIBC. The homogeneous TIBC method yielded falsely elevated results in the presence of free deferoxamine. Procedures that measure TIBC by addition of excess ferric iron followed by alumina adsorption are not suitable for monitoring TIBC in acute iron overdose. The homogeneous TIBC assay can be used in acute iron overdose but underestimates TIBC when iron concentrations exceed 500 μg/dL (90 μmol/L). None of the methods examined are useful for measuring iron or TIBC in the presence of deferoxamine.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-664
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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