Medicines that can decrease catecholamine measurements include:
If you take any of the above medicines, check with your health care provider before the blood test about whether you should stop taking your medicine.
How the Test will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel slight pain. Others feel a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.
Why the Test is Performed
Catecholamines are released into the blood when a person is under physical or emotional stress. The main catecholamines are dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (which used to be called adrenalin).
This test is used to diagnose or rule out certain rare tumors, such as pheochromocytoma or neuroblastoma. It may also be done in patients with those conditions to determine if treatment is working.
The normal range for epinephrine is 0 to 900 pg/mL.
The normal range for norepinephrine is 0 to 600 pg/mL.
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Higher-than-normal levels of blood catecholamines may suggest:
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:
Fainting or feeling lightheaded
Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Guber HA, Farag AF, Lo J, Sharp J. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.