Plasma metanephrine measurement is used for the diagnosis and laboratory documentation of catecholamine-secreting tumors such as pheochromocytes and paragangliomas.
Metanephrine measurement is used to evaluate adrenal function. Metanephrine is usually determined when a patient with hypertension is suspected of having pheochromocytoma, which is a tumor of the adrenal medulla. Less than 1% of hypertensive patients have pheochromocytosis. Metanephrines (normetetanephrine and metanephrine) are the main substances that are formed in the adrenal medulla, released into the bloodstream and excreted in the urine. These substances contain a catechol nucleus and an amine group and therefore belong to the catecholamines. Metanephrine and normomethanephrine are metabolites of epinephrine and norepinephrine, respectively. Metanephrine and normomethanephrine are then metabolized to vanillylmandelic acid (VMA).
The traditional method of testing is a 24-hour urine test (89-100% sensitivity), because blood testing has many interfering factors. Determination of metanephrines is the best test for the diagnosis of pheochromocytosis because metanephrine levels are not influenced by many factors that influence catecholamine levels, such as, changes in posture, exercise, surgical stress. Metanephrine levels are also better correlated to tumor size and have fewer interventions than taking catecholamines.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Adrenal tumors, brain tumors, ganglion neuroblastoma, ganglion neuroma, neuroblastoma, pheochromocytosis hypertension, malignant pheochromocytoma, pheochromocytoma, enlarged metastasis, malignant myasthenia
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
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