Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Many signs and symptoms of porphyria are similar to those of other more common diseases. Also, because porphyria is rare, it can be more difficult to diagnosis. Lab tests are required to make a definitive diagnosis of porphyria and to determine which form of the disease you have.

If your doctor suspects porphyria, he or she may recommend these tests:

  • Urine test. If you have a form of acute porphyria, a urine test may reveal elevated levels of two substances: porphobilinogen (por-foe-bih-LIN-uh-jen) and delta-aminolevulinic (uh-me-no-lev-yoo-LIN-ik) acids, as well as other porphyrins.
  • Blood test. If you have a form of cutaneous porphyria, a blood test may show an elevation in the level of porphyrins in your blood plasma.
  • Stool sample test. Analysis of a stool sample may reveal elevated levels of some porphyrins that may not be detected in urine samples. This test may help your doctor determine your specific type of porphyria.

More tests may be needed to confirm the type of porphyria you have. Genetic testing may be suggested in the family of a person with porphyria.

May. 20, 2014

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