2,3-Diphosphoglycerate Test

Why am I having this test?

The 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) test is used to look for the cause of certain abnormalities in red blood cells (erythrocytes).

What kind of sample is taken?


A blood sample is required for this test. It is usually collected by inserting a needle into a blood vessel.

How do I prepare for this test?

Do not exercise before having the test. Exercise can cause a temporary increase in your 2,3-DPG levels.

What are the normal (or reference) ranges?

Reference ranges are considered healthy ranges established after testing a large group of healthy people. Reference ranges may vary among different people, labs, and hospitals. It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.

Reference ranges are the following:

  • 12.3 plus or minus 1.87 micromoles/g of hemoglobin or 0.79 plus or minus 0.12 mol/mol hemoglobin (SI units).

  • 4.2 plus or minus 0.64 micromoles/mL of erythrocytes or 4.2 plus or minus 0.64 mmol/L erythrocytes (SI units).

What do the results mean?

Increased levels of 2,3-DPG may indicate:

  • Anemia.

  • Heart and lung diseases, such as:

    • Obstructive lung disease.

    • Cystic fibrosis.

    • Congenital cyanotic heart disease.

  • An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

  • Long-term (chronic) kidney failure.

  • A deficiency of pyruvate kinase enzyme.

Increased levels of 2,3-DPG can also be caused by high altitudes or vigorous exercise.

Decreased levels of 2,3-DPH may indicate:

  • Polycythemia.

  • Acidosis.

  • Respiratory distress syndrome.

  • 2,3-DPG mutase deficiency.

Decreased levels of 2,3-DPG may also occur if you have had a blood transfusion.

Talk with your health care provider to discuss your results, treatment options, and if necessary, the need for more tests. Talk with your health care provider if you have any questions about your results.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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