Copper Total

Test ID: 


CPT code:



Copper, Serum or Plasma

Clinical Use:

It is used, along with serum ceruloplasmin and urine copper, to test for Wilson’s disease and (more often) in monitoring the nutritional adequacy of parenteral or enteral nutrition, especially when copper deficiency may be suspected because of ongoing gastrointestinal losses of the element. The test is done in suspected copper toxicity in premature infants when they are acutely ill and may not be able to assimilate the copper in their prescribed nutrition; in acute copper intoxications; or in “Indian childhood cirrhosis,” an illness not limited to Indian children. Serum copper is low in Menkes syndrome. Copper in the CSF is reported to mirror the neurotoxicity of copper in Wilson’s disease. Liver copper is used to confirm Wilson’s disease and Menkes syndrome and may be measured in liver disease of uncertain etiology. It can confirm ICC in the right setting. Liver copper rises with time in biliary cirrhosis, but does not confirm the diagnosis.

Test Information:

The demand for sensitive noninvasive tests for Wilson’s disease, especially for children in families where the disease is known to occur, has stimulated search for newer indices of copper metabolism. Urine copper after penicillamine load has recently been proposed.

Specimen Type:

Serum or plasma

Requested Volume: 

1 mL

Minimum Volume: 

0.2 mL

Container Type: 

Royal blue-top (EDTA) tube or royal blue-top without EDTA


Serum must be separated from cells within 45 minutes of collection and transferred to a certified metal-free plastic transport tube (PeopleSoft N° 111166). Plasma may be separated immediately and transferred to a certified metal-free transport tube (PeopleSoft N° 111166) for shipment to the laboratory.

Storage Instructions:

Maintain specimen at room temperature.

Stability Requirements:



Room temperature

14 days


14 days


14 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Rejection Criteria

Certified metal-free plastic transport tube not submitted

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MCI Diagnostic

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Sun: 7AM-3PM

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Sun: 7AM-3PM


Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM

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