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Creatinine Blood Test

Last updated March 3, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Creatinine Blood Test is a test that measures the amount of creatinine in the bloodstream.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Creat Blood Test
  • Creatinine Serum Test
  • Serum Creatinine Blood Test

What is Creatinine Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Creatinine is formed when a high-energy compound called creatine is expended by muscles to fuel their contraction. It is the end-product of creatine metabolism
  • After creatine is used up, the creatinine that is produced, travels through blood and exits through the kidneys
  • The rate of creatinine formation depends on an individual’s muscle mass. Aside from this, creatinine formation rate is fairly constant during normal conditions. This makes it a useful indicator for muscle and kidney disorders
  • Creatinine levels usually decrease with age because of age-dependent decreases in muscle mass
  • Damage to muscles resulting from injury or degenerative diseases causes the release of creatinine in blood. This leads to a spike in the normally constant blood creatinine levels
  • The Creatinine Blood Test is a test that measures the amount of creatinine in the bloodstream. It is used to assess muscle and kidney health

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Creatinine Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Creatinine Blood Test:

  • Part of a comprehensive or basic metabolic panel of tests
  • Monitoring treatment for kidney disease
  • Muscle weakening
  • Fatigue
  • Recent trauma
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Rapid weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Mid-back pain
  • Tingling and numbing in the extremities
  • Obesity
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • History of degenerative muscle disease

How is the Specimen Collected for Creatinine Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Creatinine Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Creatinine Blood Test Result?

The significance of the Creatinine Blood Test result is explained:

Increased blood creatinine levels may indicate:

  • Acromegaly
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Dehydration
  • Gigantism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Kidney disease, including acute and chronic kidney failure
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Shock
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Nephritis
  • Gout
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Subacute bacterial endocarditis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Uremia
  • Urinary obstruction

Decreased blood creatinine levels may indicate:

  • Inadequate protein intake
  • Severe liver disease
  • Muscular dystrophy

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is often ordered alongside the Creatinine Blood Test. Together, the BUN/creatinine ratio is an accurate indicator of disease. The ratio should be between 6:1 and 20:1
  • Certain factors influence the results of this test. These include hydration status, age, pregnancy, body size and composition, and diet

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 25, 2015
Last updated: March 3, 2018