Test Catalog

Test ID: MET    
Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, Blood

Method Description Describes how the test is performed and provides a method-specific reference


The normal absorption spectrum of oxyhemoglobin has very little optical density above 600 nm. The absorption spectrum of methemoglobin exhibits a small, characteristic peak at 630 nm. This peak is abolished as methemoglobin is converted to cyanmethemoglobin upon addition of potassium cyanide, and the drop in optical density is proportional to methemoglobin concentration.



The normal absorption spectrum of oxyhemoglobin has very little optical density above 600 nm. However, if certain poorly defined hemoglobin denaturation products are present in a hemolysate, there is a broad elevation of the absorption curve in the range of 600 nm to 620 nm. This "sulfhemoglobin" plateau is not affected by treatment with cyanide. Sulfhemoglobin is not available, nor can it be prepared, in a pure form for preparation of a sulfhemoglobin standard. In calculating sulfhemoglobin concentration, the factor for sulfhemoglobin quantitation is based on studies of Carrico, et al (1978).(Evelyn KA, Malloy HT: Microdetermination of oxyhemoglobin, methemoglobin, and sulfhemoglobin in a single sample of blood. J Biol Chem 1938;126:655-662; Carrico RJ, Peisach J, Alben JO: The preparation and some physical properties of sulfhemoglobin. J Analyt Biochem 1978;253:2386-2391; Fairbanks VF, Klee GG: Biochemical aspects of hematology. In Teitz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry. Edited by CA Burtis, ER Ashwood, WB Saunders Company, 1999, pp 1676-1678)

PDF Report Indicates whether the report includes an additional document with charts, images or other enriched information


Day(s) and Time(s) Test Performed Outlines the days and times the test is performed. This field reflects the day and time the sample must be in the testing laboratory to begin the testing process and includes any specimen preparation and processing time required before the test is performed. Some tests are listed as continuously performed, which means assays are performed several times during the day.

Monday through Saturday; Continuously

Analytic Time Defines the amount of time it takes the laboratory to setup and perform the test. This is defined in number of days. The shortest interval of time expressed is "same day/1 day," which means the results may be available the same day that the sample is received in the testing laboratory. One day means results are available 1 day after the sample is received in the laboratory.

Same day/1 day

Maximum Laboratory Time Defines the maximum time from specimen receipt at Mayo Clinic Laboratories until the release of the test result

3 days

Specimen Retention Time Outlines the length of time after testing that a specimen is kept in the laboratory before it is discarded

7 days

Performing Laboratory Location Indicates the location of the laboratory that performs the test