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What is an erythropoietin test?

An erythropoietin test measures the amount of erythropoietin in your blood. Erythropoietin is a hormone made by your kidneys that stimulates your body to make red blood cells. An erythropoietin test is an important test that can help determine the cause of anemia (low red blood cells) and polycythemia (high red blood cells). It can also help determine if your kidneys are making enough erythropoietin if you have chronic kidney disease.

An erythropoietin test is a simple blood draw but it is not a routine laboratory test. It is only one method that your doctor can use to test for causes of anemia and other red blood cell disorders. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about different testing options to understand which option is right for you.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: May 6, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Anemia Overview. BetterMedicine. http://www.bettermedicine.com/topic/anemia/overview.
  2. Erythropoietin. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/erythrop/tab/test.

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