Beta hydroxybutyrate


Alternative names, keywords

β-hydroxybutyrate, BHB, ketones

Samples required

Lithium heparin blood (green cap, 6 mL tube). Smaller tubes are available for paediatric samples.

Test indications

Method is not suitable for neonates <4 weeks.

Factors affecting test performance/ results

Acceptable haematocrit range for testing is 25% to 60%.

Results should always be assessed in conjunction with the patient’s medical history, clinical examination and other findings.

Reference range

less than 0.6 mmol/L
Source: Nova StatStrip® package insert.

1.0 - 2.9 mmol/L: metabolic decompensation
≥ 3.0 mmol/L: severe ketoacidosis
Source: The hospital and home use of a 30-second hand-held blood ketone meter: guidelines for clinical practice. Wallace TM, Meston NM, Gardner SG, Matthews DR. Diabetic Medicine 2001 18, 640-645

Turnaround time

1 hour


Biochemistry (Automation)