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Alternative Names Return to topUroporphyrin
Definition Return to top
Porphyrins help form many important substances in the body including hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the blood.
Porphyrins can be found in urine. A urine porphyrins test measures the amount of porphyrins in the urine.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
A 24-hour urine sample is needed.
Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra (the area where urine exits). Open the urine collection bag provided by your doctor. For boys, place the entire penis in the bag and attach it to the surrounding skin. For girls, place the bag over the labia.
You can diaper the baby as usual, over the collection bag.
Note: It may take a few tries to get the bag correctly into place. Check the infant frequently and change the bag after the infant has urinated. Drain the urine into the special container provided by your health care provider. Take the container to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Extra collection bags may be necessary if the urine sample is being taken from an infant.
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking any medicines that may affect the test results. NEVER stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.
Drugs that can affect test measurements include:
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
The test will feel the same as normal urination.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
Your doctor will order this test if you have signs of porphyria or other disorders that can cause abnormal urine porphyrins.
Normal Results Return to top
Normal results vary. In general, for a 24-hour urine test, the range is about 50 - 300 mg (milligrams).
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal results may be due to:
References Return to top
Anderson K. The porphyrias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 229.
McPherson R, Ben-Ezra J, Zhao S. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2006:chap 27.Update Date: 3/2/2009 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.