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Alternative Names Return to topPhosphorus - serum; HPO4-2, PO4-3; Inorganic phosphate
Definition Return to top
The serum phosphorus test measures the amount of phosphate in the blood.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to a needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
The health care provider may advise you to stop taking drugs that may affect the test.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This test is performed to check the blood level of phosphorus, particularly if you have a disorder known to cause abnormal phosphorus levels.
Normal Results Return to top
Normal values range from 2.4 - 4.1 mg/dl.
Note: mg/dl = milligrams per deciliter
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Higher than normal levels may indicate:
Lower than normal levels may indicate:
Other conditions under which the test may be performed:
Risks Return to top
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Considerations Return to top
The following can affect phosphorous levels:
References Return to top
Yu SLA. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorous. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 120.Update Date: 3/18/2008 Updated by: Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.