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Creatinine blood test

Serum creatinine; Kidney function - creatinine; Renal function - creatinine

The creatinine blood test measures the level of creatinine in the blood. This test is done to see how well your kidneys are working.

Creatinine can also be measured with a urine test.

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Creatinine tests

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How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

The health care provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking certain medicines that can affect the test. These medicines include:

Tell your provider about all the medicines you take.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.

Why the Test is Performed

Creatinine is a chemical waste product of creatine. Creatine is a chemical made by the body and is used to supply energy mainly to muscles.

This test is done to see how well your kidneys work. Creatinine is removed from the body entirely by the kidneys. If kidney function is not normal, the creatinine level in your blood will increase. This is because less creatinine is released through your urine.

Normal Results

A normal result is 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL (61.9 to 114.9 µmol/L) for men and 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL (53 to 97.2 µmol/L) for women.

Women usually have a lower creatinine level than men. This is because women usually have less muscle mass than men. Creatinine level varies based on a person's size and muscle mass.

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A higher than normal level may be due to:

A lower than normal level may be due to:

There are many other conditions for which the test may be ordered, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or medicine overdose. Your provider will tell you more, if needed.

Risks

There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

Related Information

Acute tubular necrosis
Diabetes and kidney disease
Eclampsia
Glomerulonephritis
Muscular dystrophy
Preeclampsia
Rhabdomyolysis
Acute nephritic syndrome
Alport syndrome
Atheroembolic renal disease
Digitalis toxicity
Ectopic Cushing syndrome
Goodpasture syndrome
Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
Hepatorenal syndrome
Interstitial nephritis
Lupus nephritis
Malignant hypertension
Autosomal dominant tubulointerstitial kidney disease
Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis
Polymyositis - adult
Prerenal azotemia

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Creatinine - serum. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:399.

Inker LA, Fan L, Levey AS. Assessment of renal function. In: Johnson RJ, Feehally J, Floege J, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 3.

Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 114.

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Review Date: 7/15/2017  

Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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