What does it mean when the liver produces ammonia?

1 Answer
May 12, 2018

It is an indication of liver failure.


One of the functions of the liver is to change ammonia in the blood to Urea that can be filtered in the kidneys and excreted from the body. When the liver is damaged due to excessive alcoholuse hep C or other factors the liver is unable to adequately perform this vital function.

If the liver does not function properly to remove the ammonia from the blood ammonia levels in the blood can raise to dangerous levels. Normal levels are from 15 - 40. People with liver failure can experience levels from 100 - 300. Ammonia levels above 100 cause brain damage and can cause a hepatic comma leading to death if not treated.

A blood test for ammonia levels can be a diagnostic tool for detecting liver failure.