Your body produces EPO in response to your levels of:
Your health care provider uses the results of your test to help pinpoint potential health conditions.
Why should you get tested
Your EPO levels, in conjunction with other test results, can help your doctor determine the cause of conditions, such as anemia or high red blood cell count (polycythemia). This can help guide appropriate treatment for your condition.
Who should get tested
This test may be ordered if you have:
Professional sports organizations also use this test to test athletes who may be using synthetic EPO as a performance-enhancing drug.
When to get tested
Erythropoietin testing is performed using a blood sample. There’s no special preparation needed before your blood is drawn, but you should speak with your doctor about factors that can affect how results are interpreted. This includes:
If it’s necessary for you to have erythropoietin testing, your health care provider will give you an order to take to a lab. A lab technician draws a sample of your blood, usually from your hand or the inside surface of your forearm. This is a simple process that takes a few minutes.
Once the technician has collected the sample using a small needle and vial, it’s analyzed to measure EPO levels.
Blood test results are typically available within a week and delivered directly to your health care provider.
EPO test results are given as a measurement in milliunits per milliliter (mU/mL) and compared to a reference range to determine if levels are normal. The normal range is usually between 2.6 and 18.5 mU/mL, depending on the test a lab uses.
EPO levels that are higher than the normal range could indicate:
EPO levels that are lower than the normal range could indicate:
Many factors affect EPO levels, so it’s critical to discuss your results with your health care provider, who can take into account your medical history, age, gender, and other factors.
Your physician may recommend treatment or additional tests, depending on your results.
You can find additional information about EPO testing on the following websites, which were used to create this guide.