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24-hour urine copper test
The 24-hour urine copper test measures the amount of copper in a urine sample.
Quantitative urinary copper
How the Test is Performed
A 24-hour urine sample is needed.
- On day 1, urinate into the toilet when you get up in the morning.
- Afterwards, collect all urine in a special container for the next 24 hours.
- On day 2, urinate into the container when you get up in the morning.
Cap the container. Keep it in the refrigerator or a cool place during the collection period.
Label the container with your name, the date, the time of completion, and return it as instructed.
For an infant, thoroughly wash the area where urine exits the body. Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end). For males, place the entire penis in the bag and attach the adhesive to the skin. For females, place the bag over the labia. Diaper as usual over the secured bag.
This procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can move the bag, causing the urine to be absorbed by the diaper. Check the infant frequently and change the bag after the infant has urinated into it. Drain the urine from the bag into the container provided by your health care provider.
Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion.
A laboratory specialist will determine how much copper is in the sample.
How to Prepare for the Test
No special preparation is necessary for this test, but if the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.
How the Test Will Feel
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the Test is Performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of Wilson's disease, a genetic disorder that affects how the body processes copper.
The normal range is 10 to 30 micrograms per 24 hours.
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What Abnormal Results Mean
An abnormal result means you have a higher than normal level of copper. This may be due to:
- Biliary cirrhosis
- Chronic active hepatitis
- Wilson's disease
There are no risks associated with providing a urine sample.
Reviewed By: Frank A. Greco, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Biophysical Laboratory, The Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.