Special features?This concerns the 24-hour urine test. The results of this test take approximately 16 days after you have submitted your urine. Before submitting of the urine you will receive a 3L urine container within a few days (depending on PostNL).
You can request the catecholamine test in case of unexplained clinical symptoms of high blood pressure such as severe headache, fast heart rate and sweating. This can occur in attacks. With this test you can detect the presence of to demonstrate or rule out a tumor. To definitively demonstrate a pheochromocytoma, additional research in the form of an MRI is necessary. This allows you to visualize the tumor. Sometimes a test in the blood is chosen, sometimes a test in the blood urine. But it also happens that both tests are performed almost at the same time.
What do we determine when researching catecholamines?
Catecholamines: adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamineThis test determines the amounts of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine in the blood or in the urine. We normally do the urine test If we have doubts about the results, we can also recommend blood tests at a later stage. You may also prefer the blood test. We can also do this directly. If the results are inconclusive, we can then recommend a urine test. A diagnosis is not made with the test alone. The doctor will also find it necessary to ask about the symptoms. You are therefore advised to request a free telephone consultation. You do this by sending an email with your availability. One of our specialists in the field of these (benign) tumors will then contact you.
These three substances are all made from tyrosine (an amino acid) and that is why they are called catecholamines. Dopamine is made in the nervous system and adrenaline and norepinephrine in the adrenal glands. All three of these hormones are produced during stress and exertion to keep you alert, vigilant and active. This allows you to suddenly make a lot of effort or stay alert.
Excessive production of these hormones occurs when a tumor is present that also produces catecholamines. We call these tumors neuroendocrine tumors. A specific tumor that produces the hormone adrenaline, causing overproduction, is called a pheochromocytoma. These hormones cause symptoms associated with stress and exertion, such as high blood pressure, headaches and palpitations.
A pheochromocytoma is extremely rare and generally benign. Although they are often benign tumors, they are dangerous. This is because they cause high blood pressure. This is harmful to the vessels and kidneys. We can use a blood test for this hormone or a urine test to see whether this tumor or other neuroendocrine tumors are present.
Alternative test: metanephrine testA test for adrenal cortex tumors such as a pheochromocytoma can be done in several ways . Previously, the VMA was measured in urine. That is no longer common. Today we have two other studies. These are the catecholamines, but metanephrines are being measured more and more often. These are breakdown products of catecholamines and are more reliable. In other words, the metanephrine urine test is finer at detecting a pheochromatocytoma. However, to be sure, an MRI should ultimately be done.
When to choose this test?Choose the catecholamine blood test or urine test:
- If not understood clinical symptoms of high blood pressure such as severe headaches, rapid heartbeat, sweating and a feeling of being agitated
- After the obvious diagnoses have been excluded (thyroid problems, menopause, vascular damage, etc.)
- If you are predisposed to a pheochromocytoma (heredity)
- If there is no possibility or no desire for the metanephrine test