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Ammonia level?

Does anyone here know about ammonia levels? My ex was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday. He was confused and disoriented. His ammonia level was 152. After lots of the heavy-duty laxatives, he is definitely cleaned out. His ammonia level yesterday was 149. Today the doc said they are giving him maximum doses (and he is not constipated), but his level is 230 today. His body is producing ammonia faster than they can get rid of it. He is sleeping a lot and still has bouts of confusion, but overall he is clear-headed.
Hospice was called in today for a consult. What now? How high can the ammonia level go before coma? Does a high level affect the kidneys? His kidneys are still working good. Other than confusion and risk of coma, what does the high ammonia level do?
6 Responses
Avatar universal
hi tinker,
high ammonia levels can affect liver and kidney. Drug or alcohol abuse is the main reason for this. According to me, following are some symptoms related to high ammonia levels:
-Loss of appetite
-Nausea with or without vomiting
-Pain in the back, sides or abdomen
-Weakness (loss of strength)
Avatar universal
I am fairly confident that the high ammonia levels are a result of the liver not working .   the liver can fix itself to a point,  alcohol will destroy it to the point of not being able to repair itself.  everybody reacts different to the ammonia levels,  my mother;s level was at 220 and she should have been comatose, but wasn't..  are they giving him the lactalose to lower the levels?
Avatar universal
Yes, but nothing worked. He was discharged from the hospital Sunday. He is now a Hospice patient, and the doctor estimated a few days to a few weeks. Our kids are 25 and 21, and they are struggling with the news. Please keep our entire family in your prayers. Thank you.
5039239 tn?1364028271
So sorry, we will pray for you. May God watch over and comfort all of you.
Avatar universal
This comment was a long time ago and it's too late for this family, sadly.  My heart goes out to them.  But I want to add something for anyone reading it now.  I'm not an expert, but I've researched this because I have a family member with advanced cirrhosis.  The liver normally filters out ammonia, which is a toxic by-product from the break down of protein that we eat, but when the liver is too damaged it can't do that anymore, and the ammonia ends up in your blood, and goes to your brain, where it causes mental symptoms.  That's hepatic encephalopathy, which is a complication of advanced cirrhosis.  Lactulose is the standard treatment, it binds to the ammonia in the body and makes it pass through the intestines.  But if that doesn't work, there are antibiotics that can be used.  Rifaximin is considered the best (and unfortunately, most expensive) one.  It kills the bacteria that produce the ammonia.  Other antibiotics that are sometimes used are neomycin and paramomycin.  So, if anyone else has a loved one who is not being helped by Lactulose, ask a doctor about these antibiotics.
I feel that certain hospitals don't want to offer you those options or for you to know them.  Thank you for the information.
Avatar universal
Hello my dad is going through a similar situation, I've found that you can get the rifaxiamin through Canada. I wanted my dad to take it and the first go round it cost me $850 for a months use after insurance paid $2000. It needs to be a prescription from your doctor but it is planetdrugs.org (Canadian pharmacy) they do not take insurance, however you can get the same drug, same dose for $175/month.  Hope this helps!!  Lots of love and prayers to you all!! Stay positive!!!
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