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Catecholamines without Creatinine Urine Test, Fractionated and VMA, 24-Hour

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Catecholamine urine testing (CATU) is used to diagnose certain diseases that increase catecholamine production. Catecholamines are essential to the body's "fight-or-flight" response and help control a variety of functions.


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You must take your lab order to the lab to obtain a proper specimen container before collection. No fasting required. Avoid tobacco, tea, coffee, and strenuous exercise for 8-12 hours prior to collection. Urinate at 8am and discard the specimen. Then collect all urine in 24-hour period, ending with final collection at 8am the next morning. Refrigerate the collected urine between all voidings or keep it in a cool place. Screw the lid on securely. Transport the specimen promptly to the laboratory. Container must be labeled with full name, date and time collection started, and date and time collection finished.

Test Results:

5-7 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.

Walk-In Lab is prohibited from selling Quest tests to residents in the following states:AZ, NY, NJ, RI

This test measures the levels of catecholamines in your urine.

Included in this test are calculated total, dopamine 24 hour urine, epinephrine 24 hour urine, norepinephrine 24 hour urine, total volume, and vma 24 hour urine.

Catecholamines are hormones made by your adrenal glands. They are released when you have physical or emotional stress. These hormones include epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. They do many things in your body. They send nerve impulses in your brain, narrow blood vessels, and raise your heart rate.

High levels of catecholamines in urine can indicate a rare type of tumor called a pheochromocytoma.

You may need this test if your healthcare provider thinks you have a pheochromocytoma tumor.  Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Headaches

  • Sweating

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Panic attack

  • High blood pressure

Not everyone with this type of tumor has high blood pressure. Up to 15% of people with this type of tumor have normal blood pressure.

Other symptoms include heart palpitations, weakness, and symptoms similar to those of a panic attack. Less common symptoms include blurry vision and weight loss.

You might also have this test if you have high blood pressure that doesn't get better with other treatment.


Certain medicines can affect your results. These include tricyclic antidepressants and cold and allergy medicines.

These foods can also affect your results:

  • Coffee, including decaffeinated coffee

  • Tea

  • Chocolate

  • Vanilla, including foods and beverages that contain vanilla

  • Bananas

  • Oranges and other citrus fruits

  • Walnuts

  • Avocados

  • Fava beans

  • Cheese

  • Beer and red wine

  • Licorice 

Having your period on the day of the test can also affect your results.

You should avoid the foods listed in the above section before and during the test. Try to avoid stressful situations, vigorous exercise, and getting cold before the test. Don't use tobacco before the test. If you have your period on the day of the test, tell the lab person doing the collection.

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