The Zimnitsky Urine Test (Проба по Зимницкому) is a test used in Russia to assess the kidneys' capacity for concentration of urine.

Here's one English-language description (choose "select all" because some of the text is the same color with the background). Here's another English-language description.

The patient's urine is collected over a period of 24 hours in 8 different containers (one container for each 3-hour period), and then the samples from each of the containers are passed to the testing facility, along with the info on the amount of urine passed during each of these 3-hour periods, and the amount of liquid consumed over the day. As I understand, specific gravity is calculated for each period.

Is it used at all in the West? In Wikipedia, only the Russian-language article exists for this kind of test. Why is that so?

I recall that it was quite a chore to collect urine in these 8 jars when I was in a hospital with diabetes. Maybe some other test(s) are used instead of it in the West?

P.S. It is still used in Russia. I don't think it's used for blood sugar assessment, I think it's more for the assessment of kidney function. I don't know much about kidney function or its assessment, and a doctor recently advised me to take this test because my urine had an extremely low specific gravity, so I started reading up. I wanted to read up on this in English, because there's usually more in-depth info on tests and their interpretation in English, but to my amazement I only found information in Russian, so I asked this question here.

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    Tough one. Never heard of this before. Definitely interesting. Currently having just a couple of hunches. Are there other transliterations (common) for the name? Like Zimnistkiy or similar? How "popular" is that test (i.e.: routinely done etc.) The wp.ru page seems rather nondescript to me. Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 19:17
  • @LangLangC - I don't know how popular it is. I was only made to do it once each time I stayed in the hospital, and all other diabetics were made to do it once per stay. I don't think it was made to assess blood sugar, because the clinic had the usual blood-testing equipment for that (blood drawn from finger, blood drawn from vein). Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 4:18
  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5362306 did some similar testing from what I understand Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 6:09
  • There is also medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003608.htm Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 6:16
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    29 years ago in Canada, I did 24-hours-a-day urine collection while hospitalized with preeclampsia. I don't know if they were doing the test you describe; I know they were monitoring my kidneys and checking for protein levels in the urine. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


So far, I could not find evidence that the Zimnitsky test is applied in exactly the same way in western countries.

The urine specific gravity is a parameter that is assessed during urine analysis. This can be measured from a single urine sample as well as from a 24-hour urine collection.

If I understood your sources regarding the Zimnitsky test correctly, it basically also tests urine for its specific gravity over a time period of 24 hours. However, the difference is that during Zimnitsky test eight (to twelve) individual samples are tested, not a collection.


For diabetes, it is important to control glucose levels. This can easily be done (to a varying degree of accuracy) by checking the urine for glucose.

Urine tests were once the main type of testing used to measure glucose levels in people who potentially had diabetes. However, they are less common now that blood tests have become more accurate and easier to use.


Nowadays, blood sugar is simply determined by a blood test (and a lab isn't even needed, glucose meters can measure on the spot), and so the extensive urine test is no longer required. Speaking from my limited experience, blood tests were performed every 3 hours (which is incidentally the same period you described for the Zimnitsky Test).

Now, urine tests are also performed if kidney failures/diseases are suspected, but I have to double-check how often. I doubt that it was on a daily basis, let alone a 3-hour basis.

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    Sorry for the not-very-reputable source, but that's kind off common knowledge, so I dig no further.
    – Narusan
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 19:46
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    Oh. That's a surprising direction. As far as I understand this, the gravity is an indicator for renal failure of filtration, mainly indicated by/when reaching isothenuria. So my main hunch would have gone into creatinine, GFR and the like as opposed this method. Regarding E/W-diff: cost, specificity, effort? Now I really like his Q. Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 19:57
  • @LangLangC: Yeah, as I said, those tests you listed is regarding kidney failure, which OP wasn't hospitalised for. I'm unsure how often and which tests are performed during kidney failure, but I'll ask. – There's a modern urine test as well, I wonder if that changed something as well. // I'm still unsure what the progressive urine tests should tell. Protein in blood, GFR and so on can all be tested at once and usually doesn't change that quickly, and detecting protein once is usually enough for acute kidney failures.
    – Narusan
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 20:14
  • That's what makes this so fascinating. Is this just "tried and true", outdated, different valuations of pros/cons, different models of financing? Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 20:19
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    I don't think that the Zimnitsky test is used for blood sugar assessment: hospitals in Russia have the necessary equipment for that. Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 6:47

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