**NOTE: All laboratory testing requires an authorizing physician in order to complete the laboratory testing**
The ammonia test is used to detect an elevated level in the blood that can be caused by severe liver disease, kidney failure, Reye syndrome or a rare genetic disorder of the urea cycle, for example. The test may be used to help investigate the cause of an individual’s changes in behavior and consciousness.
Ammonia is a waste product naturally produced in the body. It primarily comes from the digestion of protein by bacteria in the intestines. If not processed by the liver and cleared from the body appropriately, excess ammonia can accumulate in the blood and pass from the blood into the brain, where it is toxic.
An ammonia test 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 or to help support the diagnosis of Reye syndrome or hepatic encephalopathy caused by various liver diseases. An ammonia level may also be ordered to help diagnose a rare urea cycle defect and to evaluate the severity of the condition.