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Is there an association between ammonia levels and liver failure?

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Quick Answer

There is an association between ammonia levels in the body's bloodstream and failure of liver functioning, according to WebMD. The liver converts ammonia to urea, which is then expelled through urination. High ammonia levels indicate that the liver is not functioning properly.

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Full Answer

The liver is a vital organ that performs over 500 detoxification and metabolism functions in the human body, one of which is the breakdown of ammonia. The liver is vital to almost every bodily function. Due to its multidimensional uses and strategic location, the liver is prone to many diseases. There are no artificial options to compensate for liver failure, although liver dialysis treatments can be a viable short-term solution.

A high level of ammonia in the blood may be due to liver functioning issues. A blood test can be done to evaluate ammonia levels. Blood is taken from a vein or artery. A blood test determines the prognosis for liver disease, Reye syndrome, cirrhosis and heath of the liver function.

One of the main causes of death for people with liver failure is the build-up of ammonia in the body, reports Mayo Clinic. Proteins break down creating ammonia. If not expelled, the ammonia causes the brain to swell, leading to death from brain herniation.

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