Serum chromium

Definition
This is a test for increased levels of chromium in the blood.

How the test is performed

Blood is drawn from a vein, usually on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.

A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

The sample is then taken to the laboratory for evaluation.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test.

For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age and previous experiences. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the test will feel
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
Your health care provider may perform this test to detect chromium toxicity.

Normal Values

Serum chromium levels normally range from less than 0.05 up to 0.5 micrograms/milliliter

The range of normal values is dependent upon the type of specimen tested and may vary between different laboratories. The laboratory performing the test should be consulted for their normal range of values.

What abnormal results mean

Increased chromium levels may result from overexposure in the following industries:

     
  • tanning  
  • electroplating  
  • steel manufacturing

What the risks are

Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight:

     
  • excessive bleeding  
  • fainting or feeling light-headed  
  • hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)  
  • infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)  
  • multiple punctures to locate veins

Special considerations

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.

Test results may be altered if the sample is collected in a metal tube.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by Potos A. Aagen, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.