When age really matters; ferritin reference intervals during infancy revisited

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Infants are at risk for iron deficiency. Despite research advances, assessing iron stores during infancy remains a challenge to the clinician. Ferritin is the first-choice laboratory marker for measuring iron stores but it is today still unclear how to evaluate reference intervals among infants. We have studied Swedish infants (n = 456), born at term after normal pregnancies. Ferritin was measured at birth (umbilical cord sample), 48–72 h, 4 months and 12 months. Lower and upper reference interval limits were constructed as the 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles. By a large study population, we were able to use more stringent measures to avoid interference from the acute phase response than previous reports on ferritin reference intervals. When we used mathematical transformation we furthermore avoided potential information loss in precision and confirmed earlier reports of sex differences. At the lower reference interval limits there were small differences between sexes. For the higher limits, the differences were more pronounced in the older infant. At 0–3 d of age we observed a difference between the sexes of only 5% at the upper limits. The differences peaked at 12 months, where the boys’ upper 97.5th percentile was 56% compared to girls.


External organisations
  • Umeå University
  • Hallands sjukhus, Varberg
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
JournalScandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 23
Publication categoryResearch