Objective: The use of serum ammonia as a novel marker for sepsis compared to lactic acid levels in intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
Design and Interventions: Single arm, prospective clinical trial to collect arterial blood samples from patients with sepsis. Serial ammonia and lactic acid levels were sent every six hours for a total of three days.
Measurements and results: Compare mean levels of ammonia and lactic acid in terms of diagnosing sepsis and patient outcome, including length of stay and mortality. A total of 30 patients were enrolled in the pilot study. On admission, mean ammonia level was 35.7 μmol/L and lactic acid was 3.06 mmole/L. Ammonia levels checked at the end of day 2 (ammonia 2-4) and the beginning of day 3 (ammonia 3-1) were higher in patients who had a microbial culture-proven sepsis (p-values 0.029 and 0.002, respectively) compared to those without culture-positive sepsis. Ammonia levels did predict a longer hospital stay; ammonia level of more than 40 μmol/L had a mean hospital stay of 17.6 days vs. patients with normal levels who had a mean hospital stay of 9.62 days (p-value 0.0082).
Conclusion: Elevated ammonia level can be a novel biomarker for sepsis, comparable to conventional markers. Ammonia levels have a prognostic utility as elevated levels were associated with longer hospital stay.
Numan Y, Jawaid Y, Hirzallah H, Kusmic D, Megri M, Aqtash O, Amro A, Mezughi H, Maher E, Raru Y, Numan J, Akpanudo S, Khitan Z, Shweihat Y. Ammonia vs. Lactic Acid in Predicting Positivity of Microbial Culture in Sepsis: The ALPS Pilot Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2018; 7(8):182.