Also Known As
Creatinine Clearance
Urine
CRCL
CCT
Formal Name
Creatinine Clearance
This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on 23 January 2018.
At a Glance
Why Get Tested?

To help detect and evaluate kidney dysfunction or decreased blood flow to the kidneys

When To Get Tested?

Your doctor will request this test if he/she thinks that you may have a problem affecting how your kidneys work, such as a blockage within the kidney, damage to the kidneys, dehydration or fluid loss, or another disease, such as congestive heart failure. Creatinine clearance may also be measured before you are given certain drugs which rely on good kidney function in order to allow the drugs to be removed from the body. Another way of measuring how well your kidneys are working, commonly used across the UK, includes the “estimated glomerular function rate“ (eGFR) which is calculated from a single blood sample taken from a vein in your arm. This is an ‘estimation’ as there is no direct or simple way of measuring kidney function.

Sample Required?

Two samples are needed, both a urine sample (all the urine is collected over a 24-hour period) and a blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

Test Preparation Needed?

None

On average it takes 7 working days for the blood test results to come back from the hospital, depending on the exact tests requested. Some specialist test results may take longer, if samples have to be sent to a reference (specialist) laboratory. The X-ray & scan results may take longer. If you are registered to use the online services of your local practice, you will be able to access your results online.

If the doctor wants to see you about the result(s), you will be offered an appointment. If you are concerned about your test results, you will need to arrange an appointment with your doctor so that all relevant information including age, ethnicity, health history, signs and symptoms, laboratory and other procedures (radiology, endoscopy, etc.), can be considered.

Lab Tests Online-UK is an educational website designed to provide patients and carers with information on laboratory tests used in medical care. We are not a laboratory and are unable to comment on an individual's health and treatment.

Reference ranges are dependent on many factors, including patient age, gender, sample population, and test method, and numeric test results can have different meanings in different laboratories.

For these reasons, you will not find reference ranges for the majority of tests described on this web site. The lab report containing your test results should include the relevant reference range for your test(s). Please consult your doctor or the laboratory that performed the test(s) to obtain the reference range if you do not have the lab report.

For more information on reference ranges, please read Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

What is being tested?

This test measures the concentration (amount per volume) of creatinine in both a sample of blood and a sample of urine from a 24-hour urine collection. Creatinine is a protein from muscle, made constantly by the body, filtered freely by the kidney (freely passed into the urine without obstacle) and excreted (removed from the body, in this case in the urine) daily. The results are used to work out how much creatinine has been cleared from the blood and passed into the urine. This number reflects how much blood is being passed throughthe filtering part of the kidneys (the glomeruli) in a 24-hour time period.

The amount of blood filtered per minute is known as the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). If the glomeruli are damaged or diseased, or if blood circulation is slowed, then less creatinine will be removed from the blood and the GFR will drop. As creatinine levels tend to remain the same in a person a single creatinine measurement fromthe blood can be used to assess GFR when combined with the creatinine found in the urine collected over a period of time.

How is the sample collected for testing?

The test requires a 24-hour urine collection and a blood sample taken either at the beginning or end of the urine collection. The blood sample is collected by needle from a vein in the arm.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed but heavy exercise should be avoided to prevent falsely high readings. Protein supplements should also be avoided during the test as they contain creatinine. You should drink as normal with no other change to your routine or habits.

Accordion Title
Common Questions
  • How is it used?

    The creatinine clearance test is used to help evaluate the rate and efficiency of kidney filtration. It is used to help detect kidney dysfunction resulting from either kidney disease or decreased blood flow to the kidneys

  • When is it requested?

    The test may be requested if you suffer from kidney disease or a condition known to stop kidneys working such as congestive heart failure, or diabetes. It may also be requested before starting some drugs, which rely on well working kidneys to prevent toxic (poisonous) side effects.

  • What does the test result mean?

    An example of a normal creatinine clearance is 100 mL/minute. You may find it useful to consider your results in percentage terms. For example if your creatinine clearance is 50, then you have lost about 50% of your kidney function. This may be a permanent or temporary loss. A low creatinine clearance may indicate a drop in the amount of blood filtered by the kidney either due to disease within the kidney cells or to less blood getting to the kidneys. Congestive heart failure, diabetes, dehydration, shock (meaning losing a lot of fluid from the body for example if someone was to bleed after an accident or operation), blockage within the kidney, or acute or chronic kidney failure are among the possible causes.

  • Are there other ways to estimate or determine the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) of my kidneys?

    Yes. The GFR can be estimated using the result of a blood creatinine test and a calculation. (See the article on eGFR).

  • Is there anything else I should know?

    Certain drugs, such as aminoglycosides, cimetidine, cisplatin, and cephalosporins can decrease the creatinine clearance measurement. Diuretics can increase the result.

  • What should I do if I forget to save one urine sample during the collection?

    If you do not have a complete collection, the results will not be valid. You should either call your doctor or the laboratory where you obtained your container to ask if you should discontinue the test and begin again another day.

  • Is this test extremely accurate?

    There are other, more involved tests that have higher accuracy. However, these are more complex for the patient and doctor and involve injecting a radioactive tracer in the patient. For most purposes, the accuracy of creatinine clearance is good enough. The estimated GFR produces very similar information, and does not require a urine collection. Creatinine clearance measurement is now rarely done except for some drug dose decisions (particularly for some chemotherapy) and in children (where eGFR calculations cannot be so accurate but usually only prior to giving specific drugs).

  • Can I perform this test at home?

    No. The test requires analysis in an accredited laboratory and calculations by skilled personnel.