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Alternative Names Return to topPorphobilinogen test
Definition Return to top
Porphobilinogen (PBG) is a chemical called a porphyrin. Normally, the body breaks down porphyrins into heme, an important part of hemoglobin. The porphyrins usually leave the body through urine or stools. If this process is interrupted, porphyrins, such as PBG, can build up in the body.
This article describes the test to measures the amount of PBG in a urine sample.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
A 24-hour urine sample is needed. The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test.
For an infant, thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on the infant. For males, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For females, the bag is placed over the labia. Diaper as usual over the secured bag.
This procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can displace the bag, causing the specimen to be absorbed by the diaper. The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. The urine is drained into the container for transport to the laboratory.
Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain drugs that may interfere with test results.
Drugs that can affect test results include:
Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
This test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This test may be performed when porphyria or another disorder associated with an abnormal porphobilinogen (PBG) level is suspected.
Normal Results Return to top
For a random urine sample, a negative test result is considered normal.
If the test is done on a 24-hour urine sample, the normal value is less than 4 milligrams per 24 hours.
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Increased levels of PBG in the urine may be due to:
Risks Return to top
There are no risks.Update Date: 10/15/2007 Updated by: Frank A. Greco, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Biophysical Laboratory, The Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.