Ammonium, 24 hour, Urine

Test Mnemonic


CPT Codes

  • 82140 - QTY (1)


  • Urine ammonia


  • Ammonium, 24 Hr, U

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Clinic Dpt of Lab Med & Pathology

Specimen Requirements

Volume Type Container Collect Temperature Transport Temperature Special Instructions
4 mLUrine, 24-hour (well-mixed)Clean containerRefrigerate during collection.RefrigeratedRecord total volume and collection time interval on sample and test request form.


Environmental Condition Description
Refrigerated14 days (preferred)
Frozen14 days
Ambient72 hours

Days Performed

Sun - Sat

Turnaround Time

1 - 3 days


Name Description

Reference Range

Ammonium, 24 Hr, U
Sex Age From Age To Type Range Range Unit
       Normal15-56mmol/24 hr
       Reference values have not been established for patients <18 years and >77 years of age. 
       Reference values apply to 24 hour collections. 

Special Info

If temperature controls cannot be followed during and after collection, add preservative at the start of collection. Acceptable preservatives: Diazolidinyl Urea (Germall), 50% Acetic Acid, Boric Acid, 6M Hydrochloric Acid, or Thymol. Specimens with pH >8 may indicate bacterial contamination and testing will be cancelled. Do not attempt to adjust pH as it will adversely affect results. Record volume on sample and test request form. This test is New York DOH approved.

Clinical Info

This test is useful for the diagnosis of the cause of acidosis and treatment of kidney stones. The kidney regulates acid excretion and systemic acid base balance. Changing the amount of ammonium in the urine is one important way the kidneys accomplish this task. Thus, measuring the urine ammonium level can provide understanding of the cause of an acid base disturbance in individual patients. The urine ammonium level can also provide a lot of information about the daily acid production in a given patient. Since most of an individual's acid load comes from ingested protein, the urine ammonium is a good indicator of dietary protein intake. High urine ammonium and low urinary pH suggest ongoing gastrointestinal losses. Such patients are at risk of uric acid and calcium oxalate stones. Low urine ammonium and high urine pH suggest renal tubular acidosis. Such patients are at risk of calcium phosphate stones. Patients with calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones are often treated with citrate to raise the urine citrate (a natural inhibitor of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate crystal growth). However, citrate is metabolized to bicarbonate (a base), which can increase the urine pH. If the urine pH gets too high, the risk of calcium phosphate stones may have unintentionally been increased. Monitoring the urine ammonium concentration is one way to titrate the citrate dose and avoid this problem. A good starting citrate dose is about one-half of the urine ammonium excretion (in mEq of each). One can monitor the effect of this dose on urine ammonium, citrate, and pH values, and adjust the citrate dose based upon the response. A fall in urine ammonium should indicate whether the current citrate is enough to partially (but not completely) counteract the daily acid load of that given patient.

Clinical Limitation

The presence of sulfasalazine, sulfapyridine, or temozolomide may lead to false results. Ammonium concentrations may be falsely low in samples with a pH above 8.0. Consider contamination and/or a urinary tract infection with a urease positive organism (including Ureaplasma urealyticum).