Imperial Collage Healthcare


Test Background
Trace elements can be essential or toxic. Trace element toxicity can occur as a result of occupational exposure, environmental exposure or iatrogenic toxicity. Any organ can be affected: the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, muscles or circulatory system. All elements can be toxic in excess. Those most commonly associated with toxicity include: aluminium, lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, thallium, barium, germanium, tellurium, tin, antimony, osmium, uranium.

Clinical Indications

  • Raised in chronic renal failure and parenteral feeding. Patients on total parenteral nutrition, especially those with renal failure, should be monitored regularly.
  • Guidance notes on Al exposure in dialysis patients are available from the laboratory.
  • Chronic toxicity can cause bone disease, neurological defects and anaemia.

Reference Range

<0.3 μmol/L (including plasma, water and dialysate)

Sample Required
Trace element free (royal blue top)

Sample Volume
0.5 mL

Turnaround Time
2 weeks

Guidance levels:
<0.3 μmol/L – no significant aluminium exposure
0.3-2 μmol/L – increased aluminium concentration but low toxic hazard
2-3.5 μmol/L – significant aluminium accumulation with risk of toxicity
>3.5 μmol/L – significant risk of toxicity
>7 μmol/L – danger level – severe toxicity probable

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