Ferritin concentrations in dried serum spots from capillary and venous blood in children in Sri Lanka: A validation study

Namanjeet Ahluwalia, Angela De Silva, Sunethra Atukorala, Veronika Weaver, Roshni Molls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Assessing iron status continues to be challenging in field situations. Spot methods developed for analyzing ferritin from serum or plasma samples that are spotted and dried on filter paper have been shown to provide reliable and accurate iron-status assessments. However, the spot methods are based on samples from venous serum or plasma and have not been evaluated in field settings. Objective: We evaluated the validity of analyzing ferritin to assess iron status by using venous and capillary dried-serum-spot (DSS) samples by the spot method compared with using serum ferritin by the traditional method in a field setting. Design: Venous and capillary blood was obtained from healthy schoolchildren (n = 100; x̄ ± SD age: 8.9 ± 0.3 y) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. To prepare DSS samples, we aliquoted precisely 20 μL serum per spot on filter paper, air-dried the spots, and placed them in airtight plastic bags until analysis by the spot ferritin method with the use of cellulase from Trichoderma reesei at 2 wk after collection. Venous serum (100 μL) was frozen until ferritin determination by traditional radioimmunoassay. Results: Venous and capillary DSS ferritin values correlated strongly with traditional serum ferritin values (r = 0.88 and 0.86, respectively; P = 0.0001). The geometric means (±1 SD) for venous and capillary DSS ferritin and traditional ferritin were 26.9 (15.3-47.4), 33.9 (20.9-54.8), and 33.1 (18.6-58.8) μg/L, respectively, and were not significantly different. Venous and capillary DSS methods on average (±SD) yielded ferritin values that were 5.8 ± 10.1 μg/L lower and 0.1 ± 9.4 μg/L higher, respectively, than serum ferritin values obtained with the traditional method. Conclusions: Capillary and venous DSS methods for analyzing ferritin provide accurate tools for assessing iron status. Furthermore, capillary DSS ferritin is a practical means of detecting iron deficiency in field settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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