Preferred Sample Type

Bilirubin (Total)

Suitable Specimen Types

  • Serum
  • Li Hep Plasma
0.2 mL blood (1 x paed Lith Hep)

Sample Processing in Laboratory


Sample Preparation


Turnaround Time

1 day

Sample Stability

Non-haemolysed serum or heparinised or EDTA plasma from fasting patients are the specimens of choice. Both direct and total bilirubin undergo photo-oxidation or dehydrogenation to biliverdin or other intermediate products upon exposure to white light, either artificial or sunlight.

Serum bilirubin may drop as much as 50% after one hour exposure to sunlight. For optimal stability, both darkness and low temperature are necessary.


At room temperature, in total darkness, samples are stable for 2 days. Samples are stable for 4 to 7 days in the refrigerator and frozen samples are stable for 3 months if totally protected from light.


Bilirubin (Total)

General Information

Bilirubin measurements are used in the diagnosis and monitoring of liver disease, haemolytic anaemia and in the assessment of severe jaundice, especially in neonates.

Patient Preparation



Lipaemia and haemolysis cause interference in samples from adults. Haemolysis does not cause interference in neonatal samples.

Reference Range

14 days - Adult    <21 umol/L

(Source : Pathology Harmony Recommendations)



  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status:


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The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235