ammonia toxicity

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ammonia toxicity

Poisoning caused by an excess of ammonia. Ammonia is produced in the intestinal tract by bacterial action. After absorption it is transported to the liver, where it is converted to the less toxic urea. In diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, the ammonia absorbed may be shunted past the liver. This results in an accumulation of ammonia in the blood (ammoniemia). Alterations in consciousness (such as impaired concentration, distractibility, and amnesia) and a flapping tremor (asterixis) may be partly due to the toxic effects of ammonia on the brain or may be caused by metabolic changes that accompany high serum ammonia levels. Synonym: ammonia intoxicationportal-systemic encephalopathy;


Treatment is aimed at preventing production and absorption of ammonia in the intestinal tract. Laxatives (such as lactulose) and antibiotics (such as neomycin) are used to reduce the production and absorption of ammonia from the intestines. Dietary protein should be limited.

See also: toxicity
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References in periodicals archive ?
Infusion of N[H.sub.4]Cl did not affect concentration of milk true protein and did not seem to cause ammonia toxicity under the conditions of the present study.
In discussing nitrification and denitrification, the author states that many treatment plants nitrify to remove ammonia toxicity. Some also denitrify to remove nitrate.