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Phytanic acid (Phytanate)

Category Biochemistry
Test background

Phytanic acid is a 3-methyl fatty acid and so can only be oxidised in the peroxisome. Refsum’s disease, an inherited metabolic disease characterised by retinitis pigmentosa and polyneuropathy, results from deficient activity of the enzymes involved in this process.

Clinical Indications

Monitoring of diagnosed Refsum’s disease.

Reference range

See report

Sample & container required SST (gold top), serum (red top) or heparin (green top)
Sample volume 0.5 mL
Turnaround time Up to 3 weeks

Not currently performed in house; this is a referred test. Sometimes pristanic acid is also required. This is included within the very long chain fatty acid (VLCFA) profile.