Image of the Week: Dark red urine

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A urine sample taken from this patient turned dark red when left in the sun, while the color of the urine in the catheter bag remained unchanged. This patient has acute intermittent porphyria, characterized by an enzyme deficiency that prevents the usual breakdown of older hemoglobin molecules. In this case, elevated levels of porphobilinogen in the urine are converted to red-colored porphyrins by the sunlight, changing the hue of this patient's urine.


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