Test Catalog

Test ID: PBALP    
Porphobilinogen and Aminolevulinic Acid, Plasma

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

An equivalent option to urine for first-line test for evaluation of a suspected acute porphyria


Monitoring patients undergoing treatment for an acute intermittent porphyria or other acute porphyria

Genetics Test Information Provides information that may help with selection of the correct genetic test or proper submission of the test request

Plasma porphobilinogen (PBG) and aminolevulinic acid (ALA) are elevated during the symptomatic phase of the acute porphyrias: acute intermittent porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria, and variegate porphyria


An isolated elevation of ALA may be due to the very rare aminolevulinic acid dehydratase deficiency porphyria (ADP) or more commonly, a secondary inhibition of ALA.


This test can be used as part of the diagnostic assessment and monitoring of patients with acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) and other acute porphyrias.


Results are most informative when the specimen is obtained while the patient is having symptoms.


Additional testing must be performed to distinguish among the acute porphyrias.


When a urine specimen cannot be obtained during a symptomatic episode, this test provides an alternative specimen collection for the evaluation of a suspected acute porphyria.

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

The following algorithms are available in Special Instructions:

-Porphyria (Acute) Testing Algorithm

-Porphyria (Cutaneous) Testing Algorithm

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test

Method Name A short description of the method used to perform the test

Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)

NY State Available Indicates the status of NY State approval and if the test is orderable for NY State clients.


Reporting Name Lists a shorter or abbreviated version of the Published Name for a test

PBG and ALA, P

Aliases Lists additional common names for a test, as an aid in searching

5-Aminolevulinic Acid
Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA)
Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP)
ALA Dehydratase Deficiency Porphyria (ADP)
Delta-Aminolevulinic Acid
Hereditary Coproporphyria (HCP)
Variegate Porphyria (VP)
PBG (Porphobilinogen)