Ammonia blood test

What is an Ammonia Blood Test

An ammonia blood test is a type of laboratory test used to measure the amount of ammonia in the blood, a chemical that is essential for metabolism. Ammonia is a naturally occurring byproduct of the body's processes, and its levels are regulated by the liver. If the liver is not functioning properly, there can be an abnormal buildup of ammonia in the bloodstream, which can lead to serious health problems.

Preparation for the Test

No special preparation is needed for the ammonia blood test, though the individual being tested should inform the doctor of any medications or supplements they are currently taking. The doctor may need to adjust the dosage or stop taking certain medications prior to the test. It is important to follow the instructions of a healthcare professional before the test.

Procedure for the Test

The procedure for the ammonia blood test is similar to that of any other blood test. A sample of blood is taken from a person and sent to a lab for analysis. The results of the test will be available within a few days.

Types of Ammonia Tests

There are two types of ammonia tests that can be performed: the total ammonia test and the free ammonia test. The total ammonia test measures the overall amount of ammonia in the blood, while the free ammonia test measures only the ammonia not bound to proteins.

Risks of the Test

The risks of the ammonia blood test are minimal, as the amount of blood needed for the test is very small. There is also no risk of radiation exposure with the test, as with other kinds of imaging tests.

Why is the Test Performed?

The ammonia blood test is typically performed to aid in the diagnosis of liver diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. It is also used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments and assess liver function.

When is the Test Performed?

The ammonia blood test is generally ordered when a healthcare provider suspects a patient has a liver disease or disorder. It may also be ordered during routine check-ups or when a patient has been diagnosed with a liver disease, to monitor its progression.

Interpreting Test Results

The normal range for the ammonia level in the blood is 10 to 85 ┬Ámol/L. If the ammonia level is higher than the normal range, it may indicate a liver problem. However, other factors such as medication, kidney disease, or metabolic disorders can also cause an elevated ammonia level.

It is important to discuss the test results with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. Depending on the cause of the elevated ammonia levels, the doctor may recommend further tests or treatments.