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Ammonia levels in the blood may be elevated due to kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, or liver cirrhosis. Your doctor could ask you to do the Ammonia levels test to diagnose or monitor these or other health issues.
What is an ammonia levels test?
Children and infants with elevated ammonia concentrations could throw up frequently, become easily irritated and sleepy. If left untreated, they may have seizures, difficulty breathing, and fall into a coma.
The test is also known as the NH3 test, blood ammonia test, serum ammonia, and plasma.
What is the ammonia serum test used for?
A blood ammonia test helps your doctor to diagnose and/or monitor ammonia processing issues that can arise as a result of conditions such as:
- Severe liver disease damage reduces the liver’s ability to process ammonia; surges in ammonia blood levels can develop in individuals with stable liver disease, especially after a triggering event such as electrolyte imbalance or gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Reduced blood flow to the liver – Ammonia has a more challenging time getting to the liver to be processed.
- Reye syndrome is a rare condition that affects the blood, brain, and liver, causing ammonia levels and a decrease in glucose. It primarily affects children and young adults. Most of the time, it appears to be caused by a viral infection, such as the flu or chickenpox. Children who receive aspirin are at a higher risk.
- Kidney (renal) failure occurs when the kidneys cannot effectively rid the body of urea, resulting in an ammonia buildup in the blood.
- A defect in the urea cycle – a deficiency in one of the enzymes required to complete the conversion of ammonia to urea – is a rare genetic disorder.
When is NH3 Test ordered?
- Changes in mental state, disorientation (the condition of being confused about time, place, and/or your surroundings).
- Mood swings.
- Hand Tumors.
- Change in consciousness.
“Read also: Adrenocorticotropic hormone test“
What happens during an ammonia blood test?
- In a laboratory, a small needle will be used by a health care professional to draw blood from a vein in your arm.
- Following the insertion of the needle, a small amount of blood will be collected in a test tube or vial. A slight sting may be felt when the needle is inserted or removed.
- This often takes under five minutes.
What are the preparations for the ammonia serum test?
- You should avoid exercise and smoke for at least eight hours before a blood ammonia test.
- Babies do not require any special preparations for the exam.
Is there any danger in the NH3 Test?
What is the significance of the ammonia test results?
Normal Ammonia levels range
Ammonia levels reference range
|Adults||10-80 mcg/dL (6-47 µmol/L)|
|Neonates, 0 to 10 days (enzymatic)||170-341 mcg/dL (100-200 µmol/L)* (PDR). 90-150 mcg/dL|
|Infants and toddlers from 10 days to 2 years (enzymatic)||68-136 mcg/dL or (40-8- micromole/L)|
|Children more than 2 years (enzymatic)||19-60 mcg/dL or (11-35 µmol/L)|
Hight Ammonia level
Low Ammonia Level
“Read Also: Albumin blood level test“
Is there anything else I should know about NH3 Test?
- Gastrointestinal bleeding occurs when blood cells are hemolyzed in the intestines, causing the protein to be released.
- Muscular exertion occurs when muscles are active and absorb ammonia when resting.
- When using a tourniquet, ammonia levels in the blood sample can rise.
- High protein intake – A high protein diet may cause ammonia buildup in some patients.
- Prematurity – In rare cases, premature babies with respiratory distress can have very high ammonia levels.
- Certain drugs are used, such as alcohol, barbiturates, diuretics, high-dose chemotherapy, valproic acid, and narcotics.
- Using cigarettes