Ceruloplasmin

Ceruloplasmin is a copper-containing protein. This article discusses the test to measure the level of the protein in the clear liquid part of the blood (serum).

How the Test is Performed

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 the 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

No fasting or other preparation is usually needed.

How the Test Will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed

Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs or symptoms of a copper metabolism or copper storage disorder.

Normal Results

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

Lower-than-normal ceruloplasmin levels may indicate:

  • Menkes' syndrome (Menkes' kinky hair syndrome) -- very rare
  • Wilson's copper storage disease (rare)

Greater-than-normal ceruloplasmin levels may indicate:

  • Pregnancy
  • Lymphoma
  • Acute and chronic infections
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Risks

There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)