Catecholamines, Fractionated, Plasma [314X]

Test Code

CPT Codes

Dopamine, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine and Total Catecholamines (calculated)

Preferred Specimen
4 mL plasma collected in a sodium heparin (green-top) tube

Minimum Volume
2.5 mL

Other Acceptable Specimens
Plasma collected in a lithium heparin (green-top), or sodium heparin, lead-free (tan-top) tube

Draw specimen in a prechilled (green-top) Vacutainer tube. Separate plasma in a refrigerated centrifuge within 30 minutes of collection. Transfer plasma to clean, plastic, screw-capped vial(s), freeze immediately, and ship frozen. Do not thaw.

Please note: EDTA (lavender-top) tube, is no longer an acceptable sample type

Transport Container
Plastic screw-cap vial

Transport Temperature

Specimen Stability
Room temperature: 6 hours
Refrigerated: 6 hours
Frozen: 30 days

Reject Criteria (Eg, hemolysis? Lipemia? Thaw/Other?)
Received room temperature • Received refrigerated

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with Electrochemical Detection

This test was developed and its analytical performance characteristics have been determined by Quest Diagnostics. It has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. This assay has been validated pursuant to the CLIA regulations and is used for clinical purposes.

Recent surgery, traumatic injury, upright posture, cold, anxiety, pain, clonidine withdrawal, and concurrent acute or chronic illness may produce elevated results.

Reference Range

Epinephrine: No reference range available
Norepinephrine: No reference range available
Dopamine: No reference range available
Catecholamines, Total:
Adult reference ranges for Catecholamines, Plasma
Epinephrine Supine: Less than 50 pg/mL
  Upright: Less than 95 pg/mL
Norepinephrine Supine: 112-658 pg/mL
  Upright: 217-1109 pg/mL
Dopamine Supine: Less than 30 pg/mL
  Upright: Less than 30 pg/mL
Total (N+E+D) Supine: 123-671 pg/mL
  Upright: 242-1125 pg/mL
Pediatric reference ranges for Catecholamines, Plasma

Due to stress, plasma catecholamine levels are generally unreliable in infants and small children. Urinary catecholamine assays are more reliable.

Epinephrine Supine: Less than or equal to 464 pg/mL
  3-15 Years Upright: Not available
Norepinephrine Supine: Less than or equal to 1251 pg/mL
  3-15 Years Upright: Not available
Dopamine Supine: Less than 60 pg/mL
  3-15 Years Upright: Not available
Pediatric data from J Chromatogr (1993) 617:304-307

Clinical Significance
The evaluation of plasma catecholamines is utilized in the differential diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. In addition, monitoring norepinephrine levels in association with clonidine suppression has been recommended as a means of distinguishing patients with pheochromocytoma from patients with essential hypertension. Measurement of plasma norepinephrine levels may aid in the differential diagnosis of orthostatic and postural hypotension.

Performing Laboratory
Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute
14225 Newbrook Drive
Chantilly, VA 20153

The CPT Codes provided in this document are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payor being billed. Any Profile/panel component may be ordered separately. Reflex tests are performed at an additional charge.