Chromium and Cobalt Testing [Test in Focus]

Chromium and cobalt blood tests are used to monitor exposure to these elements. Both of these elements are naturally occurring and widely distributed in the environment. Previously, serum samples were collected and used to monitor patients with metal-on-metal implants, but serum can easily be contaminated during the harvesting and separation of the serum from the cellular blood components causing incorrect results. By using the new ethylene diamine triacetic acid (EDTA) anticoagulated whole-blood test, which is collected in a trace element tube instead of using serum, the risk of contamination is significantly reduced.

Paul Jannetto, Ph.D., provides an overview of the updated "chromium and cobalt testing" available through Mayo Medical Laboratories. He discusses when this testing should be ordered, how this approach improves upon previous methods, and what clinical action can be taken from the results of these tests.



Chromium, Blood (Mayo ID: CRWB)

Cobalt, Blood (Mayo ID: COWB)


When to Order

These tests are useful for:

  • Monitoring exposure to cobalt (Mayo ID: COWB).
  • Monitoring exposure to chromium (Mayo ID: CRWB).
  • Monitoring metallic prosthetic implant wear.


Specimen Information

Specimen Type: Whole Blood

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

Supplies: Metal Free B-D Tube (EDTA), 6 mL (T183)

Container/Tube: Royal blue-top (EDTA) Vacutainer plastic trace element blood-collection tube (T183)

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. See Trace Metals Analysis Specimen Collection and Transport in Special Instructions in the test catalog for complete instructions.

2. Send specimen in original tube.

Specimen Stability Information: Refrigerated (preferred)

Performance Information

Day(s) and Time(s) Test Performed: Tuesday, 5 p.m.

Analytic Time
1 day

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.