What Is Considered a High LDH Level in Blood and What Can Cause It?

JGi/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

There is some variance concerning the range for normal lactic acid dehydrogenase, or LDH, levels, with Mayo Clinic putting it between 122 and 222 units per liter, and it being between 140 and 280 units per liter, according to WebMD. Elevated LDH suggests diseases of the heart, liver, kidney and blood, says Mayo Clinic.

The degree of increase in LDH usually suggests which health issue a doctor considers. Great elevations in LDH, for example, are observed in the presence of Hodgkin’s disease, megaloblastic anemia, and lung and stomach cancers. Small-to-moderate increases may indicate pulmonary infarction, hemolytic anemia, pulmonary embolism or leukemia, says Mayo Clinic.

Increased levels of LDH may not always present in connection with a particular disease. Higher levels are found in only about one-third of renal disease patients, particularly those with tubular necrosis or pyelonephritis. At the same time, occasionally the only evidence to suggest a hidden pulmonary embolus is that of a raised LDH level, according to Mayo Clinic.

LDH, an enzyme that assists in the production of energy, is found in tissues throughout the body. An elevation in its level signifies cell damage, according to WebMD. LDH levels are measured by a blood test, the results of which may vary between labs.