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Catecholamines in Urine

How It Is Done

24-hour urine sample

  • You start collecting your urine in the morning. When you first get up, empty your bladder but do not save this urine. Write down the time that you urinated to mark the beginning of your 24-hour collection period.
  • For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine. Your doctor or lab will usually provide you with a large container that holds about 1 gal (4 L). The container has a small amount of preservative in it. Urinate into a small, clean container and then pour the urine into the large container. Do not touch the inside of the container with your fingers.
  • Keep the large container in the refrigerator for the 24 hours.
  • Empty your bladder for the final time at or just before the end of the 24-hour period. Add this urine to the large container and record the time.
  • Do not get toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine sample.

How It Feels

There is no pain while collecting a 24-hour urine sample.

Risks

There is no chance for problems while collecting a 24-hour urine sample.

Results

A test for catecholamines measures the amount of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the urine. The test also usually measures the amounts of vanillylmandelic acid (VMA), metanephrine, and normetanephrine.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Catecholamines in a 24-hour urine sample 1
Free catecholamines

Less than 100 micrograms (mcg) or less than 591 nanomoles (nmol)

Epinephrine

Less than 20 mcg or less than 109 nmol

Norepinephrine

15–80 mcg or 89–473 nmol

Dopamine

65–400 mcg or 420–2612 nmol

Normetanephrine

105–354 mcg or 573–1933 nmol

Metanephrine

74–297 mcg or 375–1506 nmol

Vanillylmandelic acid (VMA)

Less than 9 milligrams (mg) or less than 45 micromoles (mcmol)

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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