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Catecholamines

Important Note

Evaluation for catecholamines in plasma and urine are no longer offered at Seattle Children's.  Measurements of either plasma free metanephrines or 24 hour urinary fractionated metanephrines are recommended for screening for pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.  Serum HVA/VMA are recommended for screening for neuroblastomas.

Sample Requirements

Phlebotomists: Do not collect whole blood for plasma catecholamines.  Call the provider and request an add-on communication for plasma free metanephrines.

 

If urine is provided, route it to send-outs for follow-up.

 

Clinical Utility

Measurements of either plasma free metanephrines or 24 hour urinary fractionated metanephrines are recommended for screening for pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab, Feb 2007, 3(2):92-102).  Metanephrines are metabolites of catecholamines that have demonstrated higher sensitivity and specificity for detecting pheochromocytomas than measurement of either plasma or urinary catecholamines, particularly when an age-appropriate reference range is available (J Clin Endocrinol Metab, May 2002, 87(5):1955–1960).  To our knowledge, there is no literature suggesting that combining catecholamine testing with metanephrine testing adds any value over metanephrine testing alone.