Which tests are performed in the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia?

Updated: Sep 07, 2019
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Useful tests include the following:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Peripheral smear
  • Serum iron, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), and serum ferritin
  • Evaluation for hemosiderinuria, hemoglobinuria, and pulmonary hemosiderosis
  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis and measurement of hemoglobin A 2 and fetal hemoglobin
  • Reticulocyte hemoglobin content

Other laboratory tests (eg, stool testing, incubated osmotic fragility testing, measurement of lead in tissue, and bone marrow aspiration) are useful for establishing the etiology of iron deficiency anemia and for excluding or establishing a diagnosis of 1 of the other microcytic anemias.

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