Fatty Acids, Free (Nonester)

CPT: 82725
Print Share


  • Free Fatty Acids
  • Nonesterified Free Fatty Acids

Expected Turnaround Time

3 - 6 days

Related Documents

Specimen Requirements


Serum, frozen


1 mL

Minimum Volume

0.2 mL (Note: This volume does not allow for repeat testing.)


Red-top tube or gel-barrier tube


After clotting, separate serum and freeze immediately following centrifugation. Serum is the specimen of choice. Heparin must not be used nor should the patient be on heparin therapy. The NEFA level in serum will increase as it remains at room temperature. Transfer specimen to a plastic transport tube before freezing. To avoid delays in turnaround time when requesting multiple tests on frozen samples, please submit separate frozen specimens for each test requested.

Storage Instructions

Freeze. The level of NEFA will increase in serum as it is allowed to stand at room temperature due to enzymatic action.

Stability Requirements



Room temperature

4 hours


1 day


105 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x6

Patient Preparation

Sample should be collected in the early morning after a 12-hour fast. Blood for the NEFA procedure should be collected after an overnight fast because the level of circulating nonesterified fatty acids is strongly influenced by food ingestion. If the patient has not properly fasted, the determined level of NEFA will be elevated and not directly comparable to a normal range derived from fasting normal controls.

Causes for Rejection

Heparin plasma received; specimen not frozen. Note: Heparin is known to stimulate the activity of lipoprotein lipase, which acts upon triglycerides associated with blood lipoproteins to release free or nonesterified fatty acids. For this reason, blood collected from patients receiving therapeutic heparin or blood collected in heparinized containers is not suitable for the NEFA test.

Test Details


Knowledge of the level of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) in blood plasma can be helpful in the diagnosis and management of certain diseases and disorders of metabolism and in the evaluation of prospective causes of hyperlipoproteinemia. A disorder of disease that causes excessive release of a lipoactive hormone (epinephrine, ACTH, GH, etc) can induce an elevation of blood level of fatty acids. A sustained release of fatty acids from adipose cells in excess of energy needs can contribute to the development of secondary hyperlipoproteinemia.



Reference Interval

See table.


Male (mEq/L)

Female (mEq/L)

0 to 30 d



1 to 6 m



7 m to 1 y



2 to 5 y



6 to 12 y



13 to 30 y



31 to 70 y



71 to 80 y



>80 y



Additional Information

Plasma or serum NEFA is the portion of the total fatty acid pool that circulates in immediate readiness for metabolic needs. NEFA can be absorbed readily by muscle, heart, brain, and other organs as an energy source whenever insufficient quantities of glucose limit the usual carbohydrate energy source. In all probability, both glucose and NEFA are simultaneously taken up from the blood, even under normal conditions. When blood glucose levels are high, the NEFA level falls, and vice versa, emphasizing the reciprocal withdrawal of stored energy, under the simultaneous control of insulin and epinephrine. In acute starvation, the NEFA level may rise as much as three times the normal values.


Order Code Order Code Name Order Loinc Result Code Result Code Name UofM Result LOINC
081893 Fatty Acids, Free (Nonester) 15066-4 081893 Fatty Acids, Free (Nonester) mEq/L 15066-4

For Providers

Please login to order a test

Order a Test

© 2021 Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings and Lexi-Comp Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CPT Statement/Profile Statement

The LOINC® codes are copyright © 1994-2021, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Committee. Permission is granted in perpetuity, without payment of license fees or royalties, to use, copy, or distribute the LOINC® codes for any commercial or non-commercial purpose, subject to the terms under the license agreement found at https://loinc.org/license/. Additional information regarding LOINC® codes can be found at LOINC.org, including the LOINC Manual, which can be downloaded at LOINC.org/downloads/files/LOINCManual.pdf