Test Catalog

Test Id : MET

Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, Blood

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

Diagnosing methemoglobinemia and sulfhemoglobinemia


Identifying cyanosis due to other causes, such as congenital heart disease

Profile Information
A profile is a group of laboratory tests that are ordered and performed together under a single Mayo Test ID. Profile information lists the test performed, inclusive of the test fee, when a profile is ordered and includes reporting names and individual availability.

Test Id Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
METH Methemoglobin, B No Yes
SULF Sulfhemoglobin, B No Yes

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

Spectrophotometry (SP)

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

Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, B

Specimen Type
Describes the specimen type validated for testing

Whole Blood EDTA

Specimen Required
Defines the optimal specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing

Specimen must arrive within 72 hours of draw.


Container/Tube: Lavender top (EDTA)

Specimen Volume: Full tube

Additional Information: Patient's age is required.


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Benign Hematology Test Request Form (T755) with the specimen.

Specimen Minimum Volume
Defines the amount of sample necessary to provide a clinically relevant result as determined by the Testing Laboratory

1 mL

Reject Due To
Identifies specimen types and conditions that may cause the specimen to be rejected

Gross hemolysis Reject

Specimen Stability Information
Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the performing laboratory, alternate acceptable temperatures are also included

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Whole Blood EDTA Refrigerated 72 hours

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

Diagnosing methemoglobinemia and sulfhemoglobinemia


Identifying cyanosis due to other causes, such as congenital heart disease

Clinical Information
Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test


When iron in hemoglobin is oxidized from the normal divalent state to a trivalent state, the resulting brownish pigment is methemoglobin. Methemoglobin cannot combine reversibly with oxygen and is associated with cyanosis.


Methemoglobinemia, with or without sulfhemoglobinemia, is most commonly encountered as a result of administration of medications such as phenacetin, phenazopyridine, sulfonamides, local anesthetics, dapsone, or following ingestion of nitrites or nitrates. Congenital methemoglobinemias are rare. They are either due to:

-Deficiency of methemoglobin reductase (also called cytochrome B5 reductase or diaphorase) in erythrocytes, an autosomal recessive disorder.

-One of several intrinsic structural disorders of hemoglobin, called methemoglobin-M, all of which are inherited in the autosomal dominant mode.


Methemoglobinemia responds to treatment with methylene blue or ascorbic acid.



Sulfhemoglobin cannot combine with oxygen. Sulfhemoglobinemia is associated with cyanosis and often accompanies drug-induced methemoglobinemia. Sulfhemoglobinemia can be due to exposure to trinitrotoluene or zinc ethylene bisdithiocarbamate (a fungicide), or by ingestion of therapeutic doses of flutamide.


In contrast to methemoglobinemia, sulfhemoglobinemia persists until the erythrocytes containing it are destroyed. Therefore, blood level of sulfhemoglobin declines gradually over a period of weeks.


Patients with sulfhemoglobinemia often also have methemoglobinemia. There is no specific treatment for sulfhemoglobinemia. Therapy is directed at reversing the methemoglobinemia, if present.

Reference Values
Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.


0-11 months: not established

> or =1 year: 0.0-1.5% of total hemoglobin



0-11 months: not established

> or =1 year: 0.0-0.4% of total hemoglobin

Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

In congenital methemoglobinemia, the methemoglobinemia concentration in blood is about 15% to 20% of total hemoglobin. Such patients are mildly cyanotic and asymptomatic.


In acquired (toxic) methemoglobinemia, the concentration may be much higher. Symptoms may be severe when methemoglobin is >40% of hemoglobin. Very high concentrations (>70%) may be fatal.

Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Methemoglobin is unstable and is reduced to hemoglobin at a rate of about 40% per day at 0 to 4 degrees C.


A normal methemoglobin value obtained with stored or shipped specimens does not exclude prior mild methemoglobinemia. However, significant methemoglobinemia will still be demonstrable.


Sulfhemoglobin is stable and does not change in stored or shipped specimens.

Clinical Reference
Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Beutler E: Methemoglobinemia and other causes of cyanosis. In Hematology. Sixth edition. Edited by WJ Williams, E Beutler, AJ Erslev, MA Lichtman. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 2001, pp 611-614

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

Monday through Saturday

Report Available
The interval of time (receipt of sample at Mayo Clinic Laboratories to results available) taking into account standard setup days and weekends. The first day is the time that it typically takes for a result to be available. The last day is the time it might take, accounting for any necessary repeated testing.

Same day/1 to 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


Several factors determine the fee charged to perform a test. Contact your U.S. or International Regional Manager for information about establishing a fee schedule or to learn more about resources to optimize test selection.

  • Authorized users can sign in to Test Prices for detailed fee information.
  • Clients without access to Test Prices can contact Customer Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Prospective clients should contact their account representative. For assistance, contact Customer Service.

Test Classification
Provides information regarding the medical device classification for laboratory test kits and reagents. Tests may be classified as cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used per manufacturer instructions, or as products that do not undergo full FDA review and approval, and are then labeled as an Analyte Specific Reagent (ASR) product.

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information
Provides guidance in determining the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code(s) information for each test or profile. The listed CPT codes reflect Mayo Clinic Laboratories interpretation of CPT coding requirements. It is the responsibility of each laboratory to determine correct CPT codes to use for billing.

CPT codes are provided by the performing laboratory.



LOINC® Information
Provides guidance in determining the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) values for the order and results codes of this test. LOINC values are provided by the performing laboratory.

Test Id Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
MET Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, B 98902-0
Result Id Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
Applies only to results expressed in units of measure originally reported by the performing laboratory. These values do not apply to results that are converted to other units of measure.
8268 Methemoglobin, B 2614-6
8272 Sulfhemoglobin, B 4685-4

Test Setup Resources

Setup Files
Test setup information contains test file definition details to support order and result interfacing between Mayo Clinic Laboratories and your Laboratory Information System.

Excel | Pdf

Sample Reports
Normal and Abnormal sample reports are provided as references for report appearance.

Normal Reports | Abnormal Reports

SI Sample Reports
International System (SI) of Unit reports are provided for a limited number of tests. These reports are intended for international account use and are only available through MayoLINK accounts that have been defined to receive them.

SI Normal Reports | SI Abnormal Reports