• Iron deficiency;
  • anaemia of inflammation;
  • ferritin;
  • transferrin receptor;
  • log transferrin receptor;
  • ferritin ratio

Laboratory tests used in the diagnosis of iron status lack specificity in defining iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and anaemia of inflammation (AI). The serum transferrin receptor (sTfR) may provide more information in this regard. The iron status of 561 pre-school children was determined and classified using the conventional measurements. The value of the concentration of sTfR, the ratio of sTfR (µg/ml) to LogSF (µg/l) (TfR-Index), and the Log of the ratio of sTfR (µg/l) to SF (µg/l) − (LogTfR:Fer ratio), in the classification of the iron status were determined by comparing their distributions across the classification of iron status. Although there were significant differences in sTfR and TfR-Index across the categories of iron status, there was considerable overlap. All subjects with iron deficiency had LogTfR:Fer ratio > 2·55, whereas in all subjects classified as AI it was < 2·55, thus clearly separating the two. The LogTfR:Fer ratio was not able to exclude IDA in the presence of inflammation. However, in cases of combined IDA and AI the LogTfR:Fer ratio was < 2·55 but increased to > 2·55 after resolution of the inflammation. This novel method of calculating the LogTfR:Fer ratio may provide a more precise classification of the iron status of children.