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).


Quantitative High Performance Liquid Chromatography


Sun, Tue-Sat


1-4 days

New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
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
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

  Dopamine 2 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.

No compliance statements are in use for this test.


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.

Hotline History
CPT Codes


Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
0080069 Catecholamine Interpretation 49257-9
0080211 Dopamine 2216-0
0080212 Epinephrine 2230-1
0080213 Norepinephrine 2666-6
* 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