Norepinephrine -- blood; Epinephrine -- blood; Adrenalin -- blood; Dopamine -- blood
This test measures the levels of catecholamines in the blood. Catecholamines are hormones made by the adrenal glands.
Catecholamines are more often measured with a urine test than with a blood test.
A blood sample is needed.
You will likely be told not to eat anything (fast) for 10 hours before the test. You may be allowed to drink water during this time.
The accuracy of the test can be affected by certain foods and medicines. Foods that can increase catecholamine levels include:
You should not eat these foods for several days before the test. This is especially true if both blood and urine catecholamines are to be measured.
You should also avoid stressful situations and vigorous exercise. Both can affect the accuracy of the test results.
Medicines and substances that can increase catecholamine measurements include:
Medicines that can decrease catecholamine measurements include:
If you take any of the above medicines, check with your health care provider before the blood test about whether you should stop taking your medicine.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel slight pain. Others feel a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.
Catecholamines are released into the blood when a person is under physical or emotional stress. The main catecholamines are dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (which used to be called adrenalin).
This test is used to diagnose or rule out certain rare tumors, such as pheochromocytoma or neuroblastoma. It may also be done in patients with those conditions to determine if treatment is working.
The normal range for epinephrine is 0 to 900 pg/mL.
The normal range for norepinephrine is 0 to 600 pg/mL.
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
Higher-than-normal levels of blood catecholamines may suggest:
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed include Shy-Drager syndrome.
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:
Guber HA, Farag AF, Lo J, Sharp J. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.
Young WF. Adrenal medulla, catecholamines, and pheochromocytoma. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 228.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/31/2015
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2016 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.