Ordering Recommendation

Not recommended for evaluation of pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma. Use to evaluate clinical symptoms of excess catecholamine secretion. For the assessment of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma, refer to Metanephrines, Plasma (Free) (0050184) or Metanephrines Fractionated by HPLC-MS/MS, Urine (2007996).

New York DOH Approval Status

This test is New York state approved.

Specimen Required

Patient Preparation

Patient should be calm and seated for 15 minutes prior to collection. Alternately, patient may be calm and supine for 30 minutes prior to collection. Drugs and medications may affect results and should be discontinued for 72 hours prior to specimen collection, if possible.


Green (sodium or lithium heparin), lavender (EDTA). Collect on ice.

Specimen Preparation

Specimen should be centrifuged and frozen within one hour (refrigerated centrifuge is preferred but not required). Transfer 3 mL plasma to an ARUP standard transport tube(Min: 1.1 mL)

Storage/Transport Temperature

CRITICAL FROZEN. Separate specimens must be submitted when multiple tests are ordered.

Unacceptable Conditions

Serum or urine.


After separation from cells: Ambient: Unacceptable; Refrigerated: Unacceptable; Frozen at -20 C: 1 month; Frozen at -70 C: 1 year


Quantitative High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry




1-4 days

Reference Interval

Test Number
Reference Interval
18 years and older
Seated (15 min) Less than or equal to 240 pmol/L

18 years and older
Seated (15 min) Less than or equal to 330 pmol/L

18 years and older
Seated (15 min) 1050-4800 pmol/L

Interpretive Data

Small increases in catecholamines (less than 2 times the upper reference limit) are usually 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) can result from a neuroendocrine tumor. Measurement of plasma or urine fractionated metanephrines should be used for assessment of suspected pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma.

Lower catecholamine concentrations are observed in specimens collected from supine adults.

To convert to picograms per milliliter (pg/mL), multiply the reported concentration for dopamine by 0.153, epinephrine by 0.183, and norepinephrine by 0.169

Access complete set of age- and/or gender-specific reference intervals for this test in the ARUP Laboratory Test Directory (aruplab.com).

Supine Reference Intervals
Dopamine Less than or equal to 240 pmol/L
Epinephrine Less than or equal to 265 pmol/L
Norepinephrine 680-3100 pmol/L

Compliance Category

Laboratory Developed Test (LDT)


Medications may interfere with catecholamines and metabolites. The effect of drugs on catecholamine results may not be predictable. (N Rifai, A R Horvath, and C Wittwer. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Sixth edition. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier, 2018; Table 63.9.)

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

Children, particularly those under 2 years of age, often show an elevated catecholamine response to stress.

Hotline History


CPT Codes



Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
0080069 Catecholamine Interpretation 49257-9
0080211 Dopamine 14703-3
0080212 Epinephrine 14711-6
0080213 Norepinephrine 14852-8
* 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
Catecholamines Fractionated, Plasma