Ammonia : labtest

Why Get Tested?
To detect elevated levels of ammonia in the blood, to help evaluate changes in consciousness, severe liver disease, and certain genetic urea cycle disorders; to support the diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy and Reye’s syndrome
When to Get Tested?

When a patient experiences mental changes or lapses into a coma of unknown origin; when an infant or child experiences frequent vomiting and increased lethargy as a newborn or about a week after a viral illness
Sample Required?
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

How is it used?
The ammonia test is primarily used to help investigate the cause of changes in behavior and consciousness. It may be ordered, along with other tests such as glucose, electrolytes, and kidney and liver function tests, to help diagnose the cause of a coma of unknown origin or to help support the diagnosis of Reye's syndrome or hepatic encephalopathy caused by various liver diseases. An ammonia level may also be ordered to help detect and evaluate the severity of a urea cycle defect.
Some doctors use the ammonia test to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of hepatic encephalopathy, but there is not widespread agreement on its clinical utility. Since hepatic encephalopathy can be caused by the build-up of a variety of toxins in the blood and brain, blood ammonia levels correlate poorly with the degree of impairment.

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