Iron, Liver

Test Mnemonic


CPT Codes

  • 83540 - QTY (1)

Performing Laboratory


Specimen Requirements

Volume Type Container Collect Temperature Transport Temperature Special Instructions
1 cm longTissue, liverSee noteN/ASee noteObtain a minimum of two liver cores, at least 1 cm in length per core, with an 18 gauge needle. Tissue can be fresh, dried, paraffin-embedded, or formalin-fixed (refer to stability for transport temperature). If formalin-fixed, the tissue should immediately be placed in the same container with formalin. Create a surgical pathology order for liver biopsy and include the comment "QUANTITATIVE IRON." Specimens other than paraffin-embedded should be stored and transported in a metal-free container (e.g., royal blue with no additive).


Environmental Condition Description
RefrigeratedParaffin block, preserved (formalin), or dried: Indefinitely; Fresh tissue: 1 week
FrozenParaffin block, preserved (formalin), or dried: Indefinitely; Fresh tissue: Indefinitely
AmbientParaffin block, preserved (formalin), or dried: Indefinitely; Fresh tissue: Unacceptable

Days Performed


Turnaround Time

4 - 11 days


Name Description
Inductively Coupled Plasma / Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) 

Reference Range

Hep Fe Conc by Wt
Sex Age From Age To Type Range Range Unit
Male      Normal200-2000ug/g
Female      Normal200-1600ug/g
Hepatic Fe Index
Sex Age From Age To Type Range Range Unit
       NormalLess than 1.0 

Special Info

Specimens less than 0.25 mg (dry weight) are unacceptable. Existing routine paraffin blocks may be used. Specimens stored or shipped in saline will be rejected. Age is required on test request form in order to calculate iron index. This test is New York DOH approved.

Clinical Info

Useful in confirming hepatic iron overload, particularly in individuals with hemochromatosis and no common HFE mutations. A Hepatic Iron Index (HII) is not calculated for patients < 14 years of age. Note: HII < 1.0 is consistent with normal iron accumulation; HII 1.0 - 1.9 is consistent with mild iron accumulation such as in heterozygous hemochromatosis or alcoholic liver disease; HII > 1.9 is consistent with iron overload such as in homozygous hemochromatosis, porphyria cutanea tarda, and cirrhotic liver disease. The HII will decrease with chelation, chronic blood loss, or phlebotomy.