Test Catalog

Test Id : AL

Aluminum, Serum

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

Preferred monitoring for aluminum toxicity in patients undergoing dialysis


Preferred test for routine aluminum screening


Monitoring metallic prosthetic implant wear

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

Dynamic Reaction Cell-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (DRC-ICP-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

Aluminum, S

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

Al (Aluminum), Serum

Specimen Type
Describes the specimen type validated for testing


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

Patient Preparation: High concentrations of gadolinium and iodine are known to interfere with most metal tests. If either gadolinium- or iodine-containing contrast media has been administered, a specimen should not be collected for 96 hours.


-Greiner Z Trace Element no-additive (Aluminum Only), 6 mL (T713)

-Metal Free Specimen Vial (T173)

Container/Tube: Greiner Z Trace Element

Submission Container/Tube: 7-mL Mayo metal-free, screw-capped, polypropylene vial

Specimen Volume: 1.2 mL

Collection Instructions: See Metals Analysis Specimen Collection and Transport for complete instructions.

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


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Renal Diagnostics Test Request (T830) with the specimen.

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

0.3 mL

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

Gross hemolysis OK
Gross lipemia OK
Gross icterus OK

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
Serum Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days METAL FREE
Ambient 7 days METAL FREE
Frozen 7 days METAL FREE

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

Preferred monitoring for aluminum toxicity in patients undergoing dialysis


Preferred test for routine aluminum screening


Monitoring metallic prosthetic implant wear

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

Under normal physiologic conditions, the usual daily dietary intake of aluminum (5-10 mg) is completely eliminated. Excretion is accomplished by avid filtration of aluminum from the blood by the glomeruli of the kidney. Patients in kidney failure lose the ability to clear aluminum and are candidates for aluminum toxicity. Many factors increase the incidence of aluminum toxicity in patients with kidney failure:

-Aluminum-laden dialysis water can expose dialysis patients to aluminum.

-Aluminum-laden albumin can expose patients to an aluminum burden they cannot eliminate.

-The dialysis process is not highly effective at eliminating aluminum.

-Aluminum-based phosphate binder gels are administered orally to minimize phosphate accumulation; a small fraction of this aluminum may be absorbed and accumulated.


If it is not removed by kidney filtration, aluminum accumulates in the blood where it binds to proteins such as albumin and is rapidly distributed through the body. Aluminum overload leads to accumulation of aluminum at 2 sites: brain and bone. Brain deposition has been implicated as a cause of dialysis dementia. In bone, aluminum replaces calcium at the mineralization front, disrupting normal osteoid formation.


Deposition of aluminum in bone also interrupts normal calcium exchange. The calcium in bone becomes unavailable for resorption back into blood under the physiologic control of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and results in secondary hyperparathyroidism. While PTH is typically quite elevated in kidney failure, 2 different processes may occur:

1) High-turnover bone disease associated with high PTH (>150 pg/mL) and relatively low aluminum (<20 ng/mL)

2) Low-turnover bone disease with lower PTH (<50 pg/mL) and high aluminum (>60 ng/mL). Low-turnover bone disease indicates aluminum intoxication.


Serum aluminum concentrations are likely to be increased above the reference range in patients with metallic joint prosthesis. Prosthetic devices produced by Zimmer Company and Johnson and Johnson typically are made of aluminum, vanadium, and titanium. Prosthetic devices produced by Depuy Company, Dow Corning, Howmedica, LCS, PCA, Osteonics, Richards Company, Tricon, and Whiteside, typically are made of chromium, cobalt, and molybdenum. This list of products is incomplete, and these products change occasionally; see prosthesis product information for each device for composition details.

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.

<7 ng/mL

<60 ng/mL (dialysis patients)


For SI unit Reference Values, see https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/order-tests/si-unit-conversion.html

Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Patients in kidney failure not receiving dialysis therapy invariably have serum aluminum levels above the 60 ng/mL range.


McCarthy(1) and Hernandez(2) describe a biochemical profile that is characteristic of aluminum overload disease in dialysis patients:

-Patients in kidney failure with no signs or symptoms of osteomalacia or encephalopathy usually had serum aluminum below 20 ng/mL and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations above 150 pg/mL, which is typical of secondary hyperparathyroidism.

-Patients with signs and symptoms of osteomalacia or encephalopathy had serum aluminum above 60 ng/mL and PTH concentrations below 50 pg/mL (PTH above the reference range, but low for secondary hyperparathyroidism).

-Patients who had serum aluminum above 60 ng/mL and below 100 ng/mL were identified as candidates for later onset of aluminum-overload disease that required aggressive efforts to reduce their daily aluminum exposure. This was done by switching them from aluminum-containing phosphate binders to calcium-containing phosphate binders, by ensuring that their dialysis water had less than 10 ng/mL of aluminum, and ensuring the albumin used during postdialysis therapy was aluminum free.


Prosthesis wear is known to result in increased circulating concentration of metal ions.(3) Modest increase (6-10 ng/mL) in serum aluminum concentration is likely to be associated with a prosthetic device in good condition. Serum concentrations above 10 ng/mL in a patient with an aluminum-based implant not undergoing dialysis suggest significant prosthesis wear. Increased serum trace element concentrations in the absence of corroborating clinical information do not independently predict prosthesis wear or failure.

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

Failure to pay attention to proper specimen collection procedures can cause abnormal results due to specimen contamination, which can lead to misinterpretation and misdiagnosis:

-Special evacuated blood collection tubes are required for aluminum testing.(4) These tubes are readily available (Greiner Z Trace Element no-additive (Aluminum Only), 6 mL T713) and should always be used.

-Most of the common evacuated blood collection devices have rubber stoppers that are comprised of aluminum-silicate. Simple puncture of the rubber stopper for blood collection is sufficient to contaminate the specimen with aluminum. Typically, blood drawn in standard evacuated blood tubes will be contaminated by 20 to 60 ng/mL aluminum.

-The use of wooden applicator sticks or pipette tips during specimen aliquoting can cause abnormal results due to contamination.

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

1. McCarthy JT, Milliner DS, Kurtz SB, et al: Interpretation of serum aluminum values in dialysis patients. Am J Clin Pathol. 1986;86:629-636

2. Hernandez JD, Wesseling K, Salusky IB: Role of parathyroid hormone and therapy with active vitamin D sterols in renal osteodystrophy. Semin Dial. 2005;18:290-295

3. Liu TK, Liu SH, Chang CH, Yang RS: Concentration of metal elements in the blood and urine in the patients with cementless total knee arthroplasty. Tohoku J Exp Med. 1998;185:253-262

4. Schwarz C, Sulzbacher R, Oberbauer R: Diagnosis of renal osteodystrophy. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006;36:13-22

5. Sharma AK, Toussaint ND, Pickering J, et al: Assessing the utility of testing aluminum levels in dialysis patients. Hemodial Int. 2015 Apr;19(2):256-262 doi: 10.1111/hdi.12231

6. Riihimaki V, Aitio A: Occupational exposure to aluminum and its biomonitoring in perspective. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2012 Nov;42(10):827-853 doi:10.3109/10408444.2012.725027

7. Strathmann FG, Blum LM: Toxic elements In: Rifai N, Horwath AR, Wittwer CT, eds. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. Elsevier; 2018:888-924

8. US Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Aluminum. HHS; 2006. Accessed July 20, 2021. Available at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp22.pdf

9. Willhite CC, Karyakina NA, Yokel RA, et al: Systematic review of potential health risks posed by pharmaceutical, occupational and consumer exposures to metallic and nanoscale aluminum, aluminum oxides, aluminum hydroxide, and its soluble salts. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2014;44 Suppl 4(Suppl 4):1-80. doi: 10.3109/10408444.2014.934439

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

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

The metal of interest is analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.(Unpublished Mayo method)

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.


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.

2 to 8 days

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

14 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.

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  • Clients without access to Test Prices can contact Customer Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Prospective clients should contact their Regional Manager. 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
AL Aluminum, S 5574-9
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.
8373 Aluminum, S 5574-9

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

Test Update Resources

Change Type Effective Date
Supply Item 2022-12-06
Supply Item 2022-02-23
Test Changes - Reference Value 2021-10-28