Preferred Sample Type

Urine Nickel

Suitable Specimen Types

  • Plain Spot Urine
1 mL

Specimen Transport

First class post to Ref Lab.

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Usual to BHH.

Sample Preparation


Turnaround Time

10 days

Sample Stability

4 oC

Urine Nickel

General Information

Nickel (Ni) is frequently used in the production of metal alloys, in nickel-based rechargeable batteries and as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of oils. Elemental nickel is non-toxic except that it will induce inflammation at the point of contact. Nickel carbonyl, which is used in petroleum refining, is one of the most toxic chemicals known to man. Nickel carbonyl absorbed after inhalation, readily crosses all biological membranes, and noncompetitively inhibits ATP-ase and RNA polymerase. Patients exposed to nickel carbonyl exhibit rapid onset of pulmonary congestion and inability to oxygenate haemoglobin followed by development of lesions of the lung, liver, kidney, adrenals and spleen. Urine is the specimen of choice for the determination of Ni exposure via inhalation.

Patients undergoing dialysis are exposed to Ni and accumulate Ni in blood and other organs; there appear to be no adverse health affects from this exposure. Hypernickelemia has been observed in patients undergoing renal dialysis. At the present time, this is considered to be an incidental finding as no correlation with toxic events has been identified. Routine monitoring of patients undergoing dialysis is currently not recommended.

Patient Preparation



This test is not appropriate for confirming sensitivity to nickel-containing jewellery.

Reference Range

Normal range:

< 5 μmol/mol creatinine
< 5 μg/24 hr
< 85 nmol/24 hr


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status: NEQAS

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation 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 test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

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