Biochemistry Alphabetical Listing of Assays

This page will be updated as new tests become available and outmoded ones are removed.  It should not be regarded as exhaustive or static.

A/ B / C/ D/ E / F / G / H / I/ J / K / L / M / N / O / P/ Q / R/ S / T/ U/ V / W / X / Y / Z

Reference (or Therapeutic) ranges for commonly requested tests are included with the reported results, and are available on the Pathology Computer System. They apply to a fasting middle aged adult, unless otherwise stated.

Code for Samples and Reference Ranges:

GOLD=Gel tube – Minimum volume = 3.5ml
GREY=Fluoride – Min. vol. = 4ml
PURPLE=EDTA – Min. vol. = 4ml
PAED=Gel tube – Paediatric bottle – Min. vol. = 1.1ml
LH=Lithium Heparin (green top) – Min. vol. 4ml
V=Plain vacuette (light brown top) Min. vol. = 3.5ml
TR=Trace elements (dark blue top) Min.vol. = 6ml
R=Random specimen of urine in a plain universal
24 hr=24 hour collection of urine (with or without preservative)
BORATE=Red top universal
SR=Specific report carrying appropriate comments issued.
(G/A)=Reported with gender and/or age related reference ranges

Up to 4 tests can be performed on each full tube, provided they are for the same laboratory. Tests analysed in different laboratories (e.g. Biochemistry and Haematology), must each have a full specimen submitted.

Key factors which could affect some assays, such as haemolysis, lipaemia and specimen contamination can be found on the Clinical Biochemistry Assays page.

For information relating to Dynamic Function Tests (e.g.: Fluid Deprivation Test, Glucose Tolerance Test, Synacthen Test, Dexamethasone Suppression Test and Aldosterone/Renin Ratio), please contact the laboratory on 01271 322345 (or ext. 2345 if calling from within NDDH).

Blood Tests

CSF Tests

Faeces Tests

Urine Tests

Blood Tests


Tube Colour

Reference Range

*Average Turnaround Time (TAT)


ACTHPURPLESR30 daysContact laboratory
AlcoholGREYNil4 hrsNot for medico legal use
AldosteronePURPLESR30 daysContact laboratory
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)GOLDSR (G/A)2 hrsAge dependant
Alkaline Phosphatase isoenzymesGOLDN/A15 days
α1 AntitrypsinGOLD1.1 – 2.1 g/L Adult10 daysPhenotype if low
α Foeto Protein (AFP)GOLD0 – 13 ng/mL6 hrsVaries in pregnancy
AluminiumTRSR12 daysDialysis only
Amino AcidsGOLDSR (G/A)20 days
AmmoniaPURPLE<4 wk: 0-100 umol/L
4 wk – 16 y: 0-50 umol/L
Adult: 11-28 umol/L
2 hrsOn Ice – Contact laboratory
AmylaseGOLD< 100 u/L2 hrs
AndrostenedioneGOLDSR (G/A)15 days
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme  (ACE )GOLD23 – 85 u/L14 days
Anti Acetylcholine Receptor (ACR)GOLD< 0.25 u/L20 days
Anti-CardiolipinGOLD< 10 GPLU or MPLU14 days
Anti-CCPGOLD<20 units12 days
Anti-dsDNAGOLD<15 IU/mL14 days
Anti-ENAGOLDNegative14 days
Anti-GAD, IA2, ZNT8GOLDNegative20 days
Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane  (GBM) antibodiesGOLDNegative10 days
Anti-Islet Cell antibodiesGOLDNegative18 days
Anti-Mullerian HormoneGOLDSR15 days
Anti MuSK AntibodiesGOLDNegative22 days
Anti-Nuclear Antibody (ANA) or Auto-Immune  profile (AIP)GOLDNegative12 days
Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody ANCA)GOLDNegative10 days
Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase (ATP)GOLD0 – 34 u/L3 days
ASTGOLDM: 0-40 u/L
F: 0-32 u/L
2 hrs
β2 MicroglobulinGOLD1.2 – 2.4 mg/L10 days
BicarbonateGOLD<16 yr: 19-28  mmol/L
>16 yr: 22-29 mmol/L
4 hrs
Bile acidsGOLDSR10 daysObstetric jaundice
Blood Gas (Arterial)Special syringe, on ice if delayed.SR1 hrRemove needle from syringe and seal with a blind hub.
Complement -C3 Complement – C4GOLD0.75 – 1.65g/L10 daysAdults
GOLD0.2 – 0.65 g/L10 daysAdults
CA15-3GOLD<30 KU/L13 days
CA19-9GOLD<35 KU/L10 days
CA125GOLD<35 u/mL8 hrs
CaeruloplasminGOLD0.16 – 0.45 g/L (G/A)11 days
CalciumGOLD<29 d: 2.0-2.7 mmol/L
4w-16y: 2.2-2.7 mmol/L
>16y: 2.15–2.65 mmol/L
2 hrsVaries with albumin
CarbamazepineGOLD4 – 12 mg/L7 dayspre dose
CarboxyhaemoglobinBlood gas syringe< 10% in smokers;< 4% in non-smokers.1 hr
CEAGOLD< 5 ug/L10 hrs
CholesterolGOLD< 5.2 mmol/L2 hrs
CholinesteraseGOLD4.6 – 11.5 ku/L (M)
3.9 – 10.8 ku/L (F)
10 daysPhenotype if low
ChromiumTRSR14 days
CKGOLDF: 25-200 u/L
M: 40-320 u/L
2 hrs
CobaltTRSR14 days
CopperGOLD11 – 22 mmol/L (G/A)14 days
Cortisol (Not random)GOLDSR depends on timing6 hrs
C PeptidePURPLESR10 daysContact laboratory
CreatinineGOLDSR (G/A)2 hrs
CRPGOLD< 5 u/L2 hours
CryoglobulinsPURPLE & VacuetteNegative4 daysSend samples to lab in flask – Contact lab
CiclosporinPURPLESR8 daysTrough value
CytogeneticsLHSRReports sent directly to requester
DHEASO4GOLD0.8 – 5.4 mmol/L in female15 days
DigoxinGOLD0.5 – 2.0 μg/L4 hrsToxicity only
Down’s screenGOLDSR7 days
Electrolytes – SodiumGOLD133–146mmol/L2 hrs
Electrolytes –PotassiumGOLD<29 d: 3.4 – 6.0 mmol/L
1 m-1 y: 3.5-5.7 mmol/L
1 y-16 y: 3.5-5.3 mmol/L
>16 y: 3.5-5.3 mmol/L
 2 hrs
Electrolytes – ChlorideGOLD95 – 108mmol/L 2 hrs
Electrolytes – UreaGOLDVariable SR (G/A) 2 hrs
Electrolytes –CreatinineGOLDVariable SR (G/A)2 hrs
ErythropoietinPURPLE4.2 – 16.3
15 daysContact
FerritinGOLDSR (G/A)1 dayAge/sex related
Serum FolateGOLD4.6 – 18.7 μg/L1 day
FructosamineGOLD Or PURPLE205 – 285 µmol/L10 daysAvailable only in cases of abnormal haemoglobin and other haemolytic disorders
Gamma GTGOLD< 45 u/L (M) (G/A)
< 35 u/L (F) (G/A)
2 hrs
GastrinPURPLESR30 daysFasting, contact laboratory
GentamicinGOLDPeak: 6-10 mg/L
Trough: 0.5-2.0 mg/L
4 hrs
GlucagonPURPLESR30 daysStraight to lab
GlucoseGREY2.5 – 5.8 mmol/L2 hrsFasting
Growth HormoneGOLDSR10 daysRandom of little use
Gut HormonesPURPLESR30 daysStraight to lab
HDL CholesterolGOLD –2 hrsGender related
17 Hydroxy-progesteroneGOLD< 13 mmol/L13 daysInfants >48h old.
IgAGOLD(G/A)4 hrsAge related
IgGGOLD(G/A)4 hrsAge related
IgG subclassesGOLD(G/A)14 days
IgMGOLD(G/A)4 hrsAge related
IgEGOLD(G/A)12 daysAge related
InsulinPURPLE & GREYSR17 daysContact laboratory
Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1)GOLDSR (G/A)12 daysAge related
LactateGREY0.5 – 2.2 mmol/L1 hrContact laboratory
LDHGOLD240 – 480 u/L2 hrs
LeadPURPLESR15 days
Light Chain ratio/Serum free light chainsGOLDKappa light chains: 3.30 – 19.4 mg/L Lambda light chains: 5.70 – 26.3 mg/L Kappa: Lambda ratio: 0.26 – 1.6510 days
LithiumGOLD0.4 – 1.0 mmol/L4 hrs
LHGOLDSR12 hrsVaries with cycle
LFT – BilirubinGOLD<1 d: <137 umol/L
1 d – 2 d: <222 mmol/L
2 d – 14 d: <290 mmol/L
>14 d: 0-21 mmol/L
2 hrs
LFT – ALTGOLDF: 0-36 u/L
M: 0-40 u/L
2 hrs
LFT – Alk PhosGOLDSR (G/A)2 hrs
LFT – AlbuminGOLD35 – 50 g/L2 hrs
LFT – Total ProteinGOLD60 – 80 g/L2 hrs
Lysosomal enzymesPURPLESR17 daysContact laboratory
MagnesiumGOLD<29 d: 0.6-1.0 mmol/L
>29 d: 0.7 – 1.0 mmol/L
2 hrs
Mast cell tryptaseGOLD2 – 14 ng/mL21 daysContact laboratory
MetHbPURPLE or blood gas syringeSR6 hrsFresh for spectroscopy
Molecular GeneticsPURPLESRReports sent directly to requestor
OestradiolGOLDSR8 hrsVaries with cycle
OsmolalityGOLD275 – 295 mmol/kg4 hrsVaries with hydration
ParacetamolGOLDSR2 hrsTime after dose critical
ParaproteinGOLDSR4 days
PTHGOLD1.6 – 6.9 ρmol/L1 days
PhenobarbitoneGOLD10 – 30 mg/L10 daysPre dose
PhenytoinGOLD10 – 20 mg/L7 daysPre dose
PhosphateGOLD<1 m: 1.3-2.6 mmol/L
1m- <1y: 1.3-2.4 mmol/L
1-16 y: 0.9-1.8 mmol/L
>16 y: 0.8-1.5 mmol/L
2 hrsHigher in children
Porphyrin ScreenSR4 hrsContact laboratory
PotassiumGOLD<29 d: 3.4 – 6.0 mmol/L
1m – 1y: 3.5-5.7 mmol/L
1 y -16 y: 3.5-5.3 mmol/L
>16 y: 3.5-5.3 mmol/L
2 hrs
Procollagen III PeptideV1.7 – 4.2 ug/L14 days
ProgesteroneGOLDSR8 hrsVaries with cycle
PSAGOLD<4 ug/L (G/A)12 hrsBut <25 grey area
Protein electrophoresisGOLDSR4 days
RAST (Specific IgE)GOLDSR14 daysSpecify allergen(s)
ReninPURPLESR30 daysContact laboratory
SalicylateGOLDSR2 hrsTiming needed
SeleniumTRSR (G/A)14 daysContact laboratory
SodiumGOLD133 – 146 mmol/L2 hrs
TacrolimusPURPLESR8 days
Free T3GOLD3.9–6.8 pmol/L1 dayDependant on TSH
Free T4GOLD11 – 26 pmol/L1 dayDependant on TSH
TSHGOLD0.35 – 4.5 mu/L12 hrs
TestosteroneGOLD10–38   nmol/L    (M)  (G/A)
0.5 –2.8nmol/L  (F)
8 hrsLimited access for males
TheophyllineGOLD10 – 20 mg/L4 hrs
TPMTPURPLESR10 daysPre azathioprine
TriglycerideGOLD –2 hrsFasting only
High Sensitivity Troponin-TGOLDSR2 hrsSample 1: >3hrs post event; Sample 2: >9hrs post event.
TTGGOLDSR10 daysCoeliac screen
UreaGOLDVariable SR (G/A)2 hrsAge/Sex related
Uric acid (Urate)GOLDF: 140-360 umol/L
M: 200-430 umol/L
2 hrs
VancomycinGOLDSR4 hrs
Very long chain Fatty Acids (VLFAs)GOLDSR28 days
VIPLH with trasylolSR30 daysContact laboratory
Vitamins  A and EGOLDSR (G/A)20 daysKeep in dark
Vitamin B12GOLD191 – 663 ng/L1 day
Vitamin D (25-hydroxy vit D)GOLDSR1 day
Voltage-gated Potassium or Calcium channel antibodiesGOLDNegative21 days
ZincTR11 – 24 µmol/L16 daysContact laboratory


CSF Tests

Test Specimen Reference ranges Ave. TAT*Notes
CSF Total ProteinGrey and Plain Universal0.15-0.45 g/L1 hr
CSF LactateGREYNeonate: 1.1 – 6.7 mmol/L
3-10 d: 1.1 – 4.4 mmol/L
>10 d : 1.1 – 2.8 mmol/L
Adult: 1.1 -2.4 mmol/L
2 hrsContact Laboratory
CSF Oligoclonal BandsPlain Universal Not detected 16 daysRequires a paired gold topped blood sample.
CSF Xanthochromia Protocol for the Collection of CSF Specimens for Xanthochromia TestingPlainSp. No 4 >1mL SR 4 hrsKeep in dark. Only on CSF sample that are not visibly blood-stained, >12h post event and with a negative CAT scan


Faeces Tests

Test Specimen Reference ranges Ave. TAT*Notes
CalprotectinRandom<50 ug/g faeces14 daysFresh sample
ElastaseRandom>200 mg elastase/ g14 daysFresh sample
PorphyrinsPea sized PieceQualitative only>7 daysContact laboratory
Reducing SubstancesFresh pieceQualitative1 dayDelayed receipt can give negative results

Urine Tests



Reference ranges

Ave. TAT*


Amino acids

R or 24hr


21 days

Bence Jones protein

R or 24hr


4 days

Need EMU


R or 24hr

2.5 – 7.5 mmol/24hr

8 hrs


R or 24hr

1.60 – 4.50 mmol/24h

21 days



40 – 305 nmol/24hr

14 days



< 280 mg/24hr

30 days




10 days

Creatinine Clearance

RED plus 24hr

80 – 130 mL/min

3 hrs

Take blood specimen some time during the same 24hr period


R or 24hr

<0.16 mmol/24h

21 days

Drugs of Abuse



10 days

State tests required

Electrolytes – SodiumR or 24hr50 –200 mmol/24 hr2 hrsAppropriateness is more relevant than a reference range
Electrolytes – PotassiumR or 24hr25 – 100 mmol/24hr2 hrs
Electrolytes – UreaR or 24hr250– 660mmol/24hr2 hrs
Electrolytes – CreatinineR or 24hr9 – 18 mmol/24hr2 hrs
HCGEMUSR2 hrsVaries with gestation
5 HIAA24hr acidified10 – 40 mmol/24hr14 days
ImmunofixationR or 24hrSR7 days
MicroalbuminVACR <2.5 (M)
ACR <3.5 (F)
6 hrs
24hr Special
SR30 daysContact laboratory
MethadoneRSR10 days
Metabolic ScreenRSugar and amino acid chromatography21 days
Metanephrine24hr acidified0 – 2.2 umol/24h(M)0 – 1.8 umol/24h(F)10 days
MucopolysaccharideRSR30 daysNeed EMU
Normetanephrine24hr acidified0 – 3.0 umol/24h (M) 0 – 3.0 umol/24h (F) (G/A)10 days
Organic acidsRSR21 days
OsmolalityR & VDepends on hydration4 hrs
OxalateR or 24hrSR21 days
PhosphateR or 24hrAdults:11 to 32 mmol/24h Children:up to 26 mmol/24h8 hrs
PorphobilinogenR & V / 24hrQualitative Screen17 daysKeep specimen in the dark
PorphyrinsR & V / 24hrQualitative Screen12 hrsKeep specimen in the dark
Reducing substancesR  FRESHQualitative only12 hrs
Protein (Random)V or 24hr –8 hrs
Uric AcidR or 24hr1190 – 2900 μmol/24hr8 hrs

*The turnaround times shown are the average time taken (during normal working hours), from the specimen details being entered in the pathology computer system to the result being available to view electronically on the same system. 

In addition it takes an average of 27 minutes from the time specimens are delivered to the Pathology Dept to the time they are entered on the computer system. This time should be taken into account when considering total turnaround times for results to be made available.

The time taken from collecting the specimen from the patient to delivery to the Pathology Dept is not included in the quoted turnaround times above.

Please contact the Pathology Quality Manager on 01271 335758 to discuss any aspect of analysis turnaround time.

Following discussion with the Laboratory, URGENT samples are generally processed and reported within 60 minutes of receipt in the laboratory.

Great caution should be exercised if reference data is sought and downloaded from other sources via the internet.
Different sites within the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world may use different methods of assay and express their results using different units.  These differences are not always readily apparent and may lead to misinterpretation of the significance of results.

Lab Tests Online– A public resource on clinical lab testing from the laboratoryprofessionals who do the testing.
Diseases Database Ver 1.7 ; Medical lists and links Diseases Database Database of information on diseases.
North and East Devon Community Extranet the shared Community Extranet Site for Devon PCT, Devon Partnership Trust and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

NOTE: If printed, information on this page is only valid on day of printing.

Last updated: October 30, 2019