A patient with porphyria may present in many ways, some of which are clinically confusing. It is sometimes useful to identify changes in blood, urine or stool that may justify the expense of actually measuring porphyrins.


Urine color:

(1) The urine of a patient with porphyria may be pink, red, purple, brown or orange in the absence of drug or food that can color the urine.

(2) The urine will become darken with an amber color if it is allowed to sit for several hours in contact with the air and light.


Fecal extraction:

(1) A stool sample can be extracted with a small amount of a suitable solvent (acetic acid-ethyl acetate followed by re-extraction into HCl)


Fluorescence with a Wood's lamp or other source of fluorescent light:

(1) urine

(2) solvent extract of feces

(3) teeth

(4) red blood cells or bone marrow cells (under a fluorescent microscope)


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