What is a Serum Creatinine Test? Preparation, Procedure and Results of Test

What is a Serum Creatinine Test? Preparation, Procedure and Results of Test

Serum creatinine test is done to measure the level of creatinine present in blood. Creatinine refers to waste product generated during breakdown of creatine found in muscles. The level of creatinine in your blood is a strong indication if your kidneys are functioning well.

Every human being has two kidneys; each of them being located on either side of the spinal cord. Among the vital organs in the human body, kidneys are an important part of the excretory system. They eliminate different waste products including creatinine from body. Doctors determine how well kidneys are functioning, depending on the serum creatinine test results. High level of creatinine in blood indicates that either of kidneys or both of them are damaged.

However serum creatinine test is done in combination with other medical tests including BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen), BMP (Basic Metabolic Panel) or CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel). These medical tests are performed as routine health checkups to help doctors diagnose specific diseases, especially the problems with kidneys.

Purpose of Creatinine Blood Test

The major purpose of creatinine blood test has already been stated above. If the test report reveals a higher level than the serum creatinine test normal range, it means the person in question has some kidney problem.

Here are Some Common Symptoms of Kidney-Related Diseases:

  • Feeling fatigue and problems in sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling on ankles, wrists, abdomen and even face
  • Back pain in the lower part in the kidney areas
  • Change in frequency of urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Serum Creatinine Test Preparation

The creatinine test does not require too much preparation.  If you are on medication, it is important to show your doctor all prescriptions. Some drugs add to the creatinine level though they don’t cause damage to kidneys but may alter test results. Inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Cephalospirin
  • Cinetidine
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin

You may be asked to stop taking medicines or adjust dosage before undergoing a serum creatinine test.

Serum Creatinine Test Procedure

The lab attendant guides the patients as to what they should do before undergoing the medical test. You will be asked to pull up your sleeve in order to expose the arm. They use an antiseptic to sterilize the area and tie a band around the area. It is done so that the veins get prominent. They insert the needle into the vein to collect blood. In most of the cases, blood is collected from the vein prominent on the inside of the elbow. After the arm band is removed, the attendant will put a bandage over the area.

Taking blood for creatinine test is a fairly low-risk procedure. However, some minor risks cannot be ignored, such as:

  • Some people faint at the sight of blood
  • Redness or redness at the injected site
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Vertigo

The blood sample is sent to the lab for analysis. You will receive reports in a few days.

Implications of Creatinine Blood Test Results

Creatinine in blood is measured in mgm / deciliter of blood. The result of serum creatinine test also depends on one’s gender and age. People with muscular body have a higher level of creatinine in their blood.

Normal range of creatinine in blood is from 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL in men whereas that in women is from 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL. High serum is an indication that kidneys are not functioning at their optimum condition. However, the level may be slightly raised due to any or many of the following reasons:

  • High protein diet
  • Blocked urinary tract
  • Kidney infection
  • Reduced flow of blood to kidneys owing to congestive heart failure, diabetes or shock
  • Dehydration

It is rare that a medical report shows low level of creatinine. However, that can also happen due to certain conditions such as decreased mass of muscle. However, there is nothing to worry about the low creatinine level.

It is highly important to remember that normal and abnormal ranges of blood creatinine can vary at different labs because of using different measurements. However, the normal range is always mentioned on the test report for your clear understanding. You must consult your doctor after getting test results. If your creatinine level is much more than the normal range, the doctor is likely to suggest further tests for advanced assessment of your kidneys so that necessary treatment can be started as immediately as possible.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad