Clinical use: Raised Urinary Copper can be indicative of Wilson’s disease in adults.
Background: Copper is now well established as an essential trace element. The major circulating form, caeruloplasmin, synthesised in the liver. It is an acute phase reactant and can increase greatly in response to infection, injury, chronic inflammatory conditions or steroid hormones (pregnancy, certain contraceptive pills and oestrogen therapy).Excess copper is excreted in the bile, only small amounts being found in urine, unless renal damage is present, or substances which bind copper are excreted. Copper deficiency presents as a microcytic hypochromic anaemia with marked neutropenia, which is resistant to iron therapy. Wilson’s disease is an autosomal recessive disorder, the frequency being of the order of 1 in 100,000 live births. Copper cannot be excreted via the bile, or incorporated into caeruloplasmin, and consequently accumulates within the liver.
Reference ranges: 0 – 0.9 umol/ 24h
Associated diseases:
Patient preparation:

24 Hour Urine Copper Patient Information Sheet (61.7kb)
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“You should only use information or follow instructions contained in this patient leaflet if advised to do so directly by staff involved in your care. Please be aware that this leaflet is formatted for printing and may not necessarily read in the correct order when viewed on screen.”
Specimen requirements: 24hr urine collection bottle with container for collecting sample.
Turnaround time: 1 week
Additional information: For patients on chelation therapy (penicillamine or trientine) treatment should be omitted for 48 h prior to (and throughout) 24h collection. In well de-coppered patients target urine Cu is less than or = 0.6 umol/day
but may be > 0.6 in patients with proteinuria.
* Minimum demographic data required before this referral lab will analyse the sample:- Forename, Surname, Date of birth & Hospital/NHS number.
Referred test: Referred test
Location: Northern General Hospital