Delta-Aminolevulinic Acid

Delta-Aminolevulinic Acid is a topic covered in the Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests.

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Synonym/Acronym:
δ-ALA, δ-aminolevulinic acid.

Rationale
To assist in diagnosing lead poisoning in children, or porphyria, a disorder that disrupts heme synthesis, primarily affecting the liver.

Patient Preparation
There are no food, fluid, activity, or medication restrictions unless by medical direction. Usually, a 24-hr urine collection is ordered. As appropriate, provide the required urine collection container and specimen collection instructions.

Normal Findings
Method: Spectrophotometry.

Conventional UnitsSI Units (Conventional Units × 7.626)
1.5–7.5 mg/24 hr11.4–57.2 micromol/24 hr

Critical Findings and Potential Interventions

Signs and symptoms of an acute porphyria attack include pain (commonly in the abdomen, arms, and legs), nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, rapid pulse, and high blood pressure. Possible interventions include medication for pain, nausea, and vomiting, and, if indicated, respiratory support. Initial treatment following a moderate to severe attack may include identification and cessation of harmful drugs the patient may be taking, IV infusion of glucose, and IV heme therapy (hematin, heme arginate) if indicated by markedly elevated urine δ-ALA and porphyrins.

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