Sign in →

Test Code MSHGB Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, Blood

Reporting Name

Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, B

Useful For

Diagnosing methemoglobinemia and sulfhemoglobinemia


Identifying cyanosis due to other causes, such as congenital heart disease

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester

Specimen Type

Whole Blood EDTA

Specimen Required

Specimen must arrive within 72 hours of draw.


Container/Tube: Lavender top (EDTA)

Specimen Volume: Full tube

Additional Information: Patient's age is required.

Specimen Minimum Volume

1 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Whole Blood EDTA Refrigerated 72 hours

Reference Values


0-11 months: not established

≥1 year: 0.0-1.5% of total hemoglobin



0-11 months: not established

≥1 year: 0.0-0.4% of total hemoglobin

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Saturday

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information



LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
MET Methemoglobin and Sulfhemoglobin, B 98902-0


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
8268 Methemoglobin, B 2614-6
8272 Sulfhemoglobin, B 4685-4

Clinical Reference

Beutler E: Methemoglobinemia and other causes of cyanosis. In Hematology. Sixth edition. Edited by WJ Williams, E Beutler, AJ Erslev, MA Lichtman. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 2001, pp 611-614

Method Description


The normal absorption spectrum of oxyhemoglobin has very little optical density above 600 nm. The absorption spectrum of methemoglobin exhibits a small, characteristic peak at 630 nm. This peak is abolished as methemoglobin is converted to cyanmethemoglobin upon addition of potassium cyanide, and the drop in optical density is proportional to methemoglobin concentration.



The normal absorption spectrum of oxyhemoglobin has very little optical density above 600 nm. However, if certain poorly defined hemoglobin denaturation products are present in a hemolysate, there is a broad elevation of the absorption curve in the range of 600 nm to 620 nm. This "sulfhemoglobin" plateau is not affected by treatment with cyanide. Sulfhemoglobin is not available, nor can it be prepared, in a pure form for preparation of a sulfhemoglobin standard. In calculating sulfhemoglobin concentration, the factor for sulfhemoglobin quantitation is based on studies of Carrico, et al (1978).(Evelyn KA, Malloy HT: Microdetermination of oxyhemoglobin, methemoglobin, and sulfhemoglobin in a single sample of blood. J Biol Chem 1938;126:655-662; Carrico RJ, Peisach J, Alben JO: The preparation and some physical properties of sulfhemoglobin. J Analyt Biochem 1978;253:2386-2391; Fairbanks VF, Klee GG: Biochemical aspects of hematology. In Teitz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry. Edited by CA Burtis, ER Ashwood, WB Saunders Company, 1999, pp 1676-1678)

Report Available

Same day/1 to 3 days

Reject Due To

Gross hemolysis Reject

Method Name

Spectrophotometry (SP)


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Benign Hematology Test Request Form (T755) with the specimen.

Profile Information

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
METH Methemoglobin, B No Yes
SULF Sulfhemoglobin, B No Yes