Catecholamines Blood Test
Catecholamines Blood Test
This test measures Catecholamine levels in the blood. Catecholamines are hormones which increase when a person is under physical or emotional stress. This test looks at the 3 primary Catecholamines which are Dopamine, Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and Norepinephrine. The release of Catecholamines into the blood has a number of effects including increased energy, dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and heightened metabolism. Typically, once the source of the stress has passed, Catecholamines are quickly metabolized and removed from the body through the urine. Catecholamine levels are normally low but they can be elevated by hormone-producing tumors known as Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas. While these types of tumors are typically benign, the excess hormones they produce can cause hypertension, severe headaches, anxiety, sweating, nausea, rapid heartbeat and tingling in the hands and feet. If left untreated, they can result in kidney damage, heart disease and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
This test is typically ordered when a person has symptoms of excess Catecholamine production to help determine if a tumor is the cause of their condition. For people experiencing unusual bouts of hypertension, the best time to have their blood drawn is during or immediately after an episode. Catecholamine testing may also be done as a follow up to irregular results on a Metanephrine test. Since a number of factors including the stress of having blood drawn can falsely elevate Catecholamine levels and because they are eliminated from the body quickly, a blood Catecholamine test may not always yield accurate results. For this reason, a Urine Catecholamine test is often done along with the blood test or as a follow-up.
Turnaround for this test is typically 4-8 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.
Overnight fasting is required. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco, and strenuous exercise prior to collection. Walnuts, bananas, and α-methyldopa (Aldomet®) should be avoided for a week prior to collection. Avoid smoking for 4-6 hours prior to collection. The donor should be relaxed in either a supine or upright position in quiet surroundings (ideally for at least 30 minutes) before blood is drawn. States of anxiety and stress can cause fluctuations in the catecholamine levels.
Other drug interference may occur, including epinephrine and epinephrine-like drugs (eg, nose drops, sinus and cough preparations, bronchodilators, appetite suppressants).