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Category Biochemistry >> Trace elements
Test background

Selenium is an essential trace element. It is known to be an important cofactor in a variety of biological processes including: thyroid hormone production, antioxidants, glutathione pathway, immune response and mitochondrial function. Deficiency manifests as both Keshan syndrome, a cardiomyopathy prevalent amongst children and women, and Kashin-Beck disease, which causes osteoarthropathy primarily afflicting children. These conditions typically arise in selenium-restricted diets, such as secondary to long-term parenteral nutrition, or deficiency due to the presence of an inborn error of metabolism. Selenium has a low threshold of toxicity, commencing at approximately 10 times the dietary requirement.

Clinical Indications

- Suspected selenium deficiency, ie. patient on restricted diet such as total parenteral nutrition
- Assessment of toxicity: symptoms may include gastrointestinal symptoms, garlic breath, hair loss, neurological impairment, fatigue, cirrhosis and pulmonary oedema

Reference range

See Report

Sample & container required Serum: Trace element free (royal blue top) preferred, yellow top SST and red top serum accepted.
Sample volume 0.5 mL
Transport storage Stable at 2-8°C. Sample can be sent by first class post.
Turnaround time 1 week

Grossly haemolysed samples are unsuitable for this assay.