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Test Code U24 HVA Homovanillic Acid (HVA), 24 Hour, Urine

Reporting Name

Homovanillic Acid (HVA), 24 Hr, U

Useful For

Screening children for catecholamine-secreting tumors with a 24-hour urine collection when requesting homovanillic acid only


Monitoring neuroblastoma treatment


Screening patients with possible inborn errors of catecholamine metabolism

Necessary Information

1. Collection duration and urine volume are required.

2. Patient's age is required.

Specimen Required

Container/Tube: Plastic, 10-mL urine tube (T068)

Specimen Volume: 5 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Collect a 24-hour urine specimen.

2. Add 25 mL of 50% acetic acid as preservative at start of collection. If specimen is refrigerated during collection, preservative may be added up to 12 hours after collection. Use 15 mL of 50% acetic acid for children less than 5 years old. This preservative is intended to achieve a pH of between approximately 1 and 5. If necessary, adjust urine pH to 1 to 5 with 50% acetic or HCI acid.

Additional Information:

1. Administration of L-dopa may falsely increase homovanillic acid results; it should be discontinued 24 hours prior to and during collection of specimen.

2. The sensitivity of this test is greater on a 24-hour specimen than on a random specimen.

3. See Urine Preservatives-Collection and Transportation for 24-Hour Urine Specimens in Special Instructions for multiple collections.

4. Bactrim may interfere with detection of the analyte. All patients taking Bactrim should be identified to the laboratory when this test is ordered.

Specimen Type


Specimen Minimum Volume

2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Urine Refrigerated (preferred) 28 days
  Frozen  180 days

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester

Method Name

Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)

Method Description

Homovanillic acid (HVA) is measured by solid-phase extraction (SPE) of a 1-mL aliquot of urine. A known amount of stable isotope-labeled HVA internal standard (IS) is added to each urine specimen prior to SPE. HVA and IS are eluted from the SPE column with methanol. The methanol is evaporated and the HVA and IS are redissolved in liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) mobile phase. A portion of this prepared extract is injected onto a LC column that separates HVA and IS from the bulk of any remaining specimen matrix. The HVA and IS are measured by mass spectrometry/tandem-mass spectrometry using the selected reaction monitoring mode. HVA is quantified using the ratio to IS versus urine calibrators.(Magera MJ, Stoor A, Helgeson JK, et al: Determination of homovanillic acid in urine by stable isotope dilution and electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. Clin Chim Acta 2001;306:35-41)

Reference Values

<1 year: <35.0 mg/g creatinine

1 year: <30.0 mg/g creatinine

2-4 years: <25.0 mg/g creatinine

5-9 years: <15.0 mg/g creatinine

10-14 years: <9.0 mg/g creatinine

≥15 years (adults): <8 mg/24 hours

Test Classification

This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
HVA Homovanillic Acid (HVA), 24 Hr, U 13760-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
3572 Homovanillic Acid, Adult (>14 yr) 2436-4
3573 Homovanillic Acid, Child (<15 yr) 13760-4
TM39 Collection Duration 13362-9
VL37 Urine Volume 3167-4

Reject Due To









Urine Preservative Collection Options







6N HCl


50% Acetic Acid








Boric Acid





If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send an Oncology Test Request Form (T729) with the specimen (