Aminolevulinic Acid, Delta, Random Urine

Test ID: 


CPT code:



ALA, Delta, Random Urine
Delta Aminolevulinic Acid, Random Urine

Clinical Use:

Diagnose porphyrias: Δ-ALA may be increased in attacks of acute intermittent porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria, and porphyria variegata; evaluation of certain neurological problems with abdominal pain; diagnosis of lead or mercury poisoning. Urinary Δ-ALA is not a sensitive indicator of lead poisoning in children because it does not increase until blood lead concentration is 40 μg/dL, well above the recommended level of <15 μg/dL. ALA is increased also in tyrosinemia.1,2 Porphobilinogen and δ-aminolevulinic acid are the tests of choice for acute intermittent porphyria. Recently the molecular lesions have been identified in a severely affected homozygote with δ-aminolevulinate dehydratase deficient porphyria.3

Specimen Type:

Urine (random), frozen and protected from light

Requested Volume: 

3 mL

Minimum Volume: 

1 mL

Container Type: 

Plastic urine container with 0.5 mL of 30% acetic acid and amber plastic frozen transport tube and cap.


On collection of random urine, it is advisable not to use first voided morning specimen, late evening specimen after 8 PM, or specimen obtained following excessive fluid intake. pH must be <6. Transfer the urine into a plastic frozen transport tube with a cap. Label the container with the patient’s name and date. The specimen should be frozen immediately and maintained frozen until tested. (If amber tube and cap are not available, cover a clear plastic transport tube completely from top to bottom with aluminum foil. Identify the specimen with the patient’s name directly on the transport tube and the outside of the aluminum foil. Secure with tape.)

Storage Instructions:

Freeze immediately and protect from light. Note: Urine is not stable preserved with sodium carbonate. It is stable for one month when preserved with 30% acetic acid and frozen (-20°C to 0°C), or stable for three days with 30% acetic acid when refrigerated (2°C to 8°C).

Rejection Criteria

Specimen not protected from light; use of preservative other than 30% acetic acid; use of sodium carbonate preservative

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