This test measures plasma levels of ammonia, a nonprotein nitrogen compound that helps maintain acid-base balance. In diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, ammonia can bypass the liver and accumulate in the blood. Plasma ammonia levels may help indicate the severity of hepatocellular damage.
Procedure And Posttest Care
Normally, plasma ammonia levels in adults range from 9 to 33 mol/L.
Elevated plasma ammonia levels are common in severe hepatic disease, such as cirrhosis and acute hepatic necrosis, and can lead to hepatic coma. Elevated levels may also occur in Reye's syndrome, severe heart failure, GI hemorrhage, and erythroblastosis fetalis.
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