Creatinine is a waste product produced by muscles from the breakdown of a compound called creatine. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys, which filter almost all of it from the blood and release it into the urine. This test measures the amount of creatinine in the blood and/or urine.
Creatine is part of the cycle that produces energy needed to contract muscles. Both creatine and creatinine are produced by the body at a relatively constant rate. Since almost all creatinine is filtered from the blood by the kidneys and released into the urine, blood levels are usually a good indicator of how well the kidneys are working. The amount of creatinine you produce depends on your body size and your muscle mass. For this reason, creatinine levels are usually slightly higher in men than in women and children.
Results from a blood creatinine test may be used in combination with results from other tests, such as a 24-hour urine creatinine test, to calculate values that are used to evaluate kidney function.