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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Lithium

Test Code(s): LI

CPT Code(s): 80178

Methodology: Colorimetric

Clinical Significance: Manic depressive affective disorder.

Days Performed: Daily, 24 hours.

Turnaround Time: Stat: 1 hour.
Routine: 4 hours.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Blood

Collection Instructions: Collect specimen for trough level prior to morning dose. This level should be collected 12 hours after the evening dose.

Collection Container: Preferred: Red cap with yellow ring (SST)
Also Acceptable: Red top

Collection Volume: Preferred: 2 mL
Pediatrics: 0.5 mL

Sample Analyzed: Serum

Volume Required: Preferred: 1 mL
Pediatrics: 0.2 mL

Specimen Processing: Centrifuge.  If a complete barrier has not formed, transfer cell-free serum to plastic vial.  Refrigerate.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220). Transport with coolant pack if coming from outreach location.

Unacceptable Criteria: Green top tubes (with black, white or yellow-ring) are not acceptable.

Stability: Ambient: 24 hours
Refrigerated: 7 days
Frozen: 6 months


Reference Interval:


Age 0 days and up: 0.60-1.20 mmol/L

Critical Calls: View

Additional Information:

Result of BELOW indicates that the result is below the method detection limit of 0.20 mmol/L. Serum lithium concentrations peak 2-4 hours after dose. Half-life is 24 hours in adults, 18 hours in adolescents, and greater than 36 hours in the elderly.

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