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Creatinine and Creatinine Clearance

What To Think About

  • A high blood creatinine level is generally seen with a low creatinine clearance level. This is because creatinine in the blood is normally removed by the kidneys. If the kidneys are not able to remove creatinine (low creatinine clearance), levels of creatinine in the blood go up (high blood creatinine level).
  • If you are pregnant, your doctor can check the amount of creatinine in amniotic fluid to see how developed your baby's kidneys are. This can be helpful if there is a chance your baby will be delivered early. A baby whose kidneys are fully developed will make more creatinine than a baby whose kidneys are still developing.
  • A normal blood creatinine level does not rule out kidney disease. To help see if there is kidney damage, creatinine clearance is also measured. Other tests may also be done to check for kidney disease. For more information, see the topic Blood Urea Nitrogen.
  • Creatinine levels increase more slowly than blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. So an increase in creatinine may mean chronic kidney problems.
  • A glomerular filtration rate may be done for people with chronic kidney disease. This test checks how well the kidneys are working.
  • Diabetes experts recommend that blood creatinine levels be checked every year for people with diabetes. The creatinine level is used to find the glomerular filtration rate.
  • The amount of creatinine in the blood depends partly on the amount of muscle tissue. This means that creatinine levels are generally higher in men than in women. Also, people who have large muscles, such as athletes, normally have above-average blood creatinine levels.
  • A one-time urine sample to measure urine creatinine and sodium is sometimes done along with creatinine and sodium blood tests. This helps find the fractional excretion of sodium (FENa). This test can help your doctor see if a problem with blood flow to the kidneys is caused by dehydration or shock or by damage to the kidneys themselves.


  1. Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Diabetes Association (2014). Standards of medical care in diabetes-2014. Diabetes Care, 37(Suppl 1): S14-S80. DOI: 10.2337/dc14-S014. Accessed January 7, 2014.

  • Ceriotti F, et al. (2008). Reference intervals for serum creatinine concentrations: Assessment of available data for global application. Clinical Chemistry, 54(3): 559-566.

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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