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glossary:creatinine

Creatinine

(1) A chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Creatinine is produced from creatine, a molecule of major importance for energy production in muscles. Approximately 2% of the body's creatine is converted to creatinine every day. Creatinine is transported through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The kidneys filter out most of the creatinine and dispose of it in the urine.

Although it is a waste, creatinine serves a vital diagnostic function. Creatinine has been found to be a fairly reliable indicator of kidney function. As the kidneys become impaired the creatinine will rise. Abnormally high levels of creatinine thus warn of possible malfunction or failure of the kidneys, sometimes even before a patient reports any symptoms. It is for this reason that standard blood and urine tests routinely check the amount of creatinine in the blood.

Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dl) in adult males and 0.5 to 1.1 milligrams per deciliter in adult females. (In the metric system, a milligram is a unit of weight equal to one-thousandth of a gram, and a deciliter is a unit of volume equal to one-tenth of a liter.) Muscular young or middle-aged adults may have more creatinine in their blood than the norm for the general population. Elderly persons, on the other hand, may have less creatinine in their blood than the norm. Infants have normal levels of about 0.2 or more, depending on their muscle development. A person with only one kidney may have a normal level of about 1.8 or 1.9. Creatinine levels that reach 2.0 or more in babies and 10.0 or more in adults may indicate the need for a dialysis machine to remove wastes from the blood.

Certain drugs can sometimes cause abnormally elevated creatinine levels.

Common Misspellings: creatnine, creatanine

(2) a nitrogenous compound formed as the irreversible end product of creatine metabolism. It is formed in the muscle in relatively small amounts, passes into the blood and is excreted in the urine. A laboratory test for the creatinine level in the blood may be used as a measurement of kidney function. Since creatinine is normally produced in fairly constant amounts as a result of the breakdown of phosphocreatine and is excreted in the urine, an elevation in the creatinine level in the blood indicates a disturbance in kidney function.

creatinine:blood urea nitrogen ratio

determination of blood creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and the relationship between them is an additional assessment of renal function. It may be useful in the differential diagnosis of azotemia and in monitoring renal disease when protein-restricted diets are being given.

creatinine clearance test

a measure of renal function based on the rate at which ingested creatinine is filtered through the renal glomeruli.

creatinine:cortisol ratio

see cortisol:creatinine ratio.

creatinine-protein ratio

protein-creatinine ratio.

urine creatinine/serum creatinine ratio

used to distinguish between prerenal and renal azotemia.

See also: Kidney

glossary/creatinine.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)