Transferrin saturation reflects the ratio of serum iron to total iron-binding capacity. This value tells you how much of the transferrin that is available to bind iron serum is actually bound to iron (e.g. 30% means that 30% of free iron is being carried by transferrin). When the capacity of transferrin is exceeded, non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) is produced (Figure).
Figure. Formation of NTBI at higher transferrin saturation levels.
Assessment of transferrin saturation levels has received some interest in recent years. Further evaluation of these techniques is required to validate the methodology and to describe the relationship with patient prognosis.Learn about measuring transferrin saturation >
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