The Porphobilinogen (PBG) Test is used to aid in the diagnosis of a category of diseases known as Porphyrias. Porphyrias are a series of inherited disorders which can affect the skin, nervous system, or both. Porphobilinogen is involved in the production of porphyrins which are used in the production of heme, an essential component of hemoglobin. If the body is lacking in one or more of the enzymes necessary for this process, the porphobilinogen and porphyrins can build up in the body to dangerous levels. Porphyria can lead to complications such as dehydration, high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, skin damage, and breathing difficulties. Measuring the levels of PBG excreted in the urine can help a person's doctor to diagnose and differentiate between different types of Porphyria.
PBG testing is typically ordered when a person is showing symptoms associated with Porphyria. This type of test is most often done an as initial screen for Neurologic Porphyria which can cause symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, confusion or hallucinations. It may also be used to help rule out Cutaneous Porphyria which commonly causes blisters, scarring, redness, itching, burning and swelling on the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. A positive result on a PBG random urine test is typically followed up with a PBG 24 hour urine test.
Test results should be interpreted by a doctor who may determine if additional testing is necessary.
Turnaround for this test is typically 3-6 business days.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
When collecting the specimen for this test it is best not to use a first voided morning specimen, a specimen provided late in the evening, or a specimen obtained following excessive fluid intake.
It may be necessary to discontinue certain medications which may impact the results of this Porphyrins Test. Please check with your doctor to determine if you are taking any medications which may affect this test.
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