Imperial Collage Healthcare


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 Required
24 hour urine collection acidified

Sample Volume
24 hour urine collection


Stable at 2-8oC 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.


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