Serum Creatinine Test
The serum creatinine test is performed to measure the level of the waste product creatinine in a person's blood. The test also helps to assess the functioning of the kidneys. Creatine is formed during the metabolism of proteins. This creatine is further broken down into creatinine. The kidneys filter the blood and throw creatinine out of the body through urine. If the kidneys fail to do so effectively due to some kidney disease, the creatinine level in the urine decreases and that in the blood increases.
This test is usually performed to check whether the kidneys are functioning normally.
It is also useful in monitoring the progress of a kidney disease and to assess a patient's response to treatment. The test can also help to tell if a person is suffering from severe dehydration. Knowing the blood urea nitrogen (BUN) to creatinine ratio helps to find out whether a person is suffering from kidney disease or dehydration. It can be done to watch out for renal toxicity in patients who may be susceptible to kidney damage, and are on medicines that could in some cases affect the kidneys adversely.
Any form of strenuous exercise should be strictly avoided for at least 48 hours prior to the test. Meat and other high-protein foods should be restricted for about 24 hours before the test. The patient is asked to drink adequate amounts of fluids. Tea or coffee are best avoided as they promote urine formation and loss of body salts. The normal values may differ from lab to lab depending upon the equipment used and its calibration. The normal blood creatinine value ranges between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Normally, the creatinine clearance rate ranges between 90 and 140 milliliters per minute (mL/min). A high creatinine level is usually suggestive of serious kidney damage or some renal disease. Increased creatinine clearance can occur due to strenuous exercise, burns, muscle injury, and carbon monoxide poisoning. If BUN to creatinine ratio is high, there is a risk of sudden kidney failure. It may also be indicative of bleeding in the digestive or respiratory tract.
Do not allow toilet paper, pubic hair, stool, menstrual blood, or any foreign matter to mix with or come in contact with your urine sample; or else, the results of the test may turn out to be inaccurate. Generally, there are no complications involved with this test. However, improper collection of the blood sample or carelessness during asepsis can lead to bruising, swelling, and infection at the punctured site.
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