Ammonia (NH3)

1 Day(s)

Reference Range

Most of the ammonia formed in the body is due to the breakdown of proteins by urea-splitting bacteria in the intestinal tract. The liver converts ammonia produced into urea, which is then eliminated in urine. The concentration of ammonia in the plasma is low as long as the urea cycle is functioning normally. Any impairment in liver function leads to increased levels of ammonia in the blood. This test is ordered when symptoms such as irritability, vomiting, lethargy and seizures arise in the first few days after birth. It is also ordered when adults experience mental changes, disorientation, sleepiness or lapse into a coma. HIGH levels of ammonia are associated with Reye’s syndrome, hepatic encephalophathy, inherited urea cycle enzyme deficiency, or kidney damage. LOW levels of ammonia may be seen with hypertension and the use of some antibiotics, such as neomycin.

Special Requirements

Use a vacutainer. Mix well. Send immediately to the Referral Office.

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