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What tests can help diagnose a pheochromocytoma?

In patients who are thought to have a pheochromocytoma, biochemical tests should be done to measure the levels of catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine) and metanephrines (the molecules that catecholamines break down into). The reason that many physicians rely on the metanephrines levels more than the catecholamine levels is that adrenaline only lasts a short time in the body before it is broken down where metanephrines last much longer in the body. Catecholamine and metanephrines levels may be measured in either the plasma (blood) or in a 24 hour urine collection. It is not clear if the urine test or the blood test is better so you should work with your physician to determine which is better for you. In general, plasma tests are better for children with whom a 24 hour urine collection is not possible.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.