What Is Hyperammonemia?

Hyperammonemia occurs during periods of “nitrogen imbalance,” when nitrogen load exceeds the capacity for clearance.

Nitrogen load is proportional to circulating amino acid levels, which are the result of both dietary protein intake and breakdown of endogenous protein (e.g., from muscle). Nitrogen clearance depends primarily on the ability of the liver to perform the urea cycle.

Therefore, diseases that drastically increase nitrogen load or compromise liver function can result in hyperammonemia, and restoring nitrogen balance is the main goal in treating hyperammonemia. The urea cycle defects (UCDs) are an important category of diseases that present with severe hyperammonemia.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.