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Catecholamines in Urine

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Normal urine values vary in children depending on their age.

High values

  • High levels of free catecholamines, vanillylmandelic acid (VMA), or metanephrine can mean an adrenal gland tumor or other type of tumor is present.
  • Any major stress, such as burns, a whole-body infection (sepsis), illness, surgery, or traumatic injury, can cause high levels.
  • Many blood pressure medicines can also cause high levels.

Low values

Low values may be caused by diabetes or some nervous system problems.

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if you:

  • Do physical exercise.
  • Have extreme emotional stress.
  • Have surgery, injury, or illness.
  • Take certain medicines, such as aspirin, nitroglycerin, tricyclic antidepressants, tetracycline, theophylline, or some blood pressure medicines.
  • Use nicotine, alcohol, or cocaine.
  • Take cough, cold, or sinus medicines.
  • Eat or drink foods with caffeine.

What To Think About

  • The 24-hour urine test is better than a blood test for finding high levels of catecholamines. To learn more about a catecholamine blood test, see the topic Catecholamines in Blood.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAlan C. Dalkin, MD - Endocrinology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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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