How Epinephrine Is Released & Metanephrine Is Formed
However in certain tumors of the adrenal gland, the tumor cells will produce too much epinephrine and the body seems to be always in this constant state of “flight or fight." The most common adrenal tumor that produces elevated urine metanephrines is called a pheochromocytoma.
If the physician suspects that the person might have this disease they will order plasma or urine metanephrines testing to rule out any other possible reasons for the patient having similar signs and symptoms. If the reason for the patient’s symptoms is due to a pheochromocytoma, then this tumor can be removed before the illness becomes more severe.
Since a person’s metanephrine level can fluctuate over time, a full twenty-four hour sample of urine is collected. In some instances, a urine test is preferred over a blood test for metanephrine as they might show in the urine for a longer time than in the blood, as the body’s natural response is to filter the blood quickly and keep it clean.
This test is also able to help in the diagnosis of hard to control high blood pressure if there are other common symptoms associated with it. In some cases, the person with a tumor in the adrenal gland can have urine metanephrines tests ordered if they show no symptoms. This can help the physician with the diagnosis of the tumor’s location. In a few instances, a physician can order this laboratory test if there is a strong family history of pheochromocytoma