Catecholamines - urine

Catecholamines in Urine

What are Catecholamines?

Catecholamines are a group of molecules which are receptors, transmitters and hormones produced in the body by the adrenal medulla. They act on various tissues to regulate the body's cardiovascular functions, metabolism, and other processes. Examples of catecholamines include adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine.

When to Test Catecholamines in Urine?

A catecholamine urine test is used to diagnose diseases that involve overproduction or underproduction of catecholamines, such as pheochromocytoma, a tumor located in the adrenal gland, and other neuroendocrine disorders. It may also be used to diagnose hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland.


No special preparation is needed for the catecholamine urine test. Your doctor will give instructions on how to collect the urine sample.


A urine sample is collected in a plastic or glass container, then shipped to a laboratory for analysis. The lab technician will check the sample for the presence of the catecholamine hormones. The urine sample will be tested for the three main catecholamines: norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. The level of each hormone will then be compared to the normal range.

Types of Catecholamines

  • Adrenaline (Epinephrine)
  • Noradrenaline (Norepinephrine)
  • Dopamine


There are no risks associated with the catecholamine urine test. However, there are risks associated with the underlying condition that may be causing the disorder. For example, a pheochromocytoma can cause high blood pressure, headaches, and heart palpitations.

Why Test Catecholamines in Urine?

The catecholamine urine test is used to diagnose diseases that involve a malfunction in the production of catecholamine hormones. It is an important test to diagnose and monitor conditions such as pheochromocytoma, an adrenal gland tumor, and other neuroendocrine disorders.