Determination of ammonia in cerebrospinal fluid using the indophenol direct method

J. R. Huizenga, A. W. Teelken, A. Tangerman, A. E. de Jager, C. H. Gips, P. L. Jansen

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We have determined ammonia in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with the indophenol direct method. The results were compared with an enzymatic method. The method is very simple, and precision (coefficient of variation 1.6%) and linearity (r = 0.9999, p <0.001) of the method are excellent. The recoveries of the method are very good (within-sample recovery: range 88-93, median 93%; between-sample recovery: 88-93, median 91%). In a population of 23 neurological patients not suffering from liver disease, the reference values ranged from 8 to 26, median 18 microM. Males and females did not differ (p = 0.5). The values obtained with the indophenol method were equal to the enzymatic method (range 9-28, median 18 microM, p = 0.6). On storage in the deep freeze (-20 degrees C), there was no change in CSF ammonia concentration for at least 1 mo. When stored at 4 degrees C (refrigerator), ammonia determinations have to be performed within 2 d. CSF storage at room temperature results in artificially elevated ammonia levels and should be avoided

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