Catecholamines Fractionated, Plasma
Ordering Recommendation
Not a first-line test for suspected catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumors (pheochromocytoma or neuroblastoma).
Quantitative High Performance Liquid Chromatography
Sun, Tue-Sat
1-4 days  
New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
Submit With Order
Specimen Required
Patient Preparation
Patient should be calm and supine for 30 minutes prior to collection.  
Green (sodium or lithium heparin). Collect on ice.  
Specimen Preparation
Specimen should be centrifuged and frozen within one hour (refrigerated centrifuge is preferred but not required). Transfer 4 mL plasma to an ARUP Standard Transport
Tube. (Min: 2.1 mL)  
Storage/Transport Temperature
CRITICAL FROZEN. Separate specimens must be submitted when multiple tests are ordered.  
Unacceptable Conditions
EDTA plasma, serum, or urine.  
After separation from cells: Ambient: Unacceptable; Refrigerated: Unacceptable; Frozen at -20°C: 1 month; Frozen at -70°C: 1 year  
Reference Interval
Test Number Components Reference Interval
2-​10 days
11 days-​3 months
4-​11 months
12-​23 months
24-​35 months
3-​17 years
18 years and older
36-​400 pg/mL
55-​200 pg/mL
55-​440 pg/mL
36-​640 pg/mL
18-​440 pg/mL
18-​460 pg/mL
10-​200 pg/mL
2-​10 days
11 days-​3 months
4-​11 months
12-​23 months
24-​35 months
3-​17 years
18 years and older
170-​1180 pg/mL
370-​2080 pg/mL
270-​1120 pg/mL
68-​1810 pg/mL
170-​1470 pg/mL
85-​1250 pg/mL
80-​520 pg/mL
 Dopamine2 days and older: 0-​20 pg/mL
Interpretive Data
Small increases in catecholamines (less than 2 times the upper reference limit) usually are the result of physiological stimuli, drugs, or improper specimen collection. Significant elevation of one or more catecholamines (2 or more times the upper reference limit) is associated with an increased
probability of a neuroendocrine tumor. Measurement of plasma or urine fractionated metanephrines provides better diagnostic sensitivity than measurement of catecholamines.

Higher catecholamine concentrations are observed in specimens collected from upright or standing adults. Epinephrine may be increased by approximately 20 percent; norepinephrine up to 700 pg/mL; dopamine, unchanged.  
Medications that may interfere with catecholamines and metabolites include amphetamines and amphetamine-like compounds, appetite suppressants, bromocriptine, buspirone, caffeine, carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet), clonidine, dexamethasone, diuretics (in doses sufficient to deplete sodium), ethanol, isoproterenol, labetalol, methyldopa (Aldomet), MAO inhibitors, nicotine, nose drops, propafenone (Rythmol), reserpine, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants, and vasodilators. The effect of drugs on catecholamine results may not be predictable. 

For optimum results, patient should be supine for 30 minutes prior to collection.

Children, particularly those under 2 years of age, often show an elevated catecholamine response to stress.
CPT Code(s)
Component Test Code*Component Chart NameLOINC
0080069Catecholamine Interpretation49257-9
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.
  • Adrenalin
  • Catecholamine Fractionation
  • Catecholamines, Free
  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine
  • Noradrenaline
  • Norepinephrine
  • Plasma Catecholamines