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Category Biochemistry >> Metabolic
Test background

Catecholamines (derived from tyrosine residues) are classed as phenethylamines; of these, adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine are the most abundant. They are produced mainly from the adrenal medulla in addition to the post-ganglionic fibres of the sympathetic nervous system, and function as hormones in the vascular system and neurotransmitters in the central/peripheral nervous systems. Their role is one of bringing about physiological changes preparatory to physical activity, eg. increased heart rate/blood pressure and gluconeogenesis. Elevated catecholamine turnover is observed in incidences of phaeochromocytoma and childhood neuroblastoma.

Clinical Indications

Diagnosis of phaeochromocytoma/paraganglioma. Symptoms include: elevated heart rate, resistant arterial hypertension, palpitations, anxiety, diaphoresis, cardiomyopathy and headaches Differential diagnosis of phaeochromocytoma includes: anxiety disorders, carcinoid syndrome, essential hypertension, hyperthyroidism, renovascular hypertension, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia and insulinoma

Reference range

Reference ranges will be given with the report

Sample & container required 24 hour urine collection acidified
Sample volume 24 hour urine collection
Transport storage Stable at 2-8°C however freezing pending dispatch recommended.
Sample can be sent by first class post.
Turnaround time 2 weeks

Random urine samples are accepted where it is difficult to provide 24 hour collections. These must be acidified on receipt in the Laboratory specimen reception.

Samples with pH>3.0 are unsuitable for this assay.