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Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase: About This Test

What is it?

The test for lactic acid dehydrogenase (LDH), also called lactate dehydrogenase (LD), measures the amount of this enzyme in your blood. LDH levels go up when there is damage to your cells.

Why is this test done?

LDH levels help diagnose lung disease, lymphoma, anemia, and liver disease. They also help find out how well chemotherapy is working during treatment for lymphoma.

How can you prepare for the test?

  • In general, you don't need to prepare before having this test. Your doctor may give you some specific instructions.

What happens during the test?

  • A health professional takes a sample of your blood.

What else should you know about the test?

  • Your results will include an explanation of what a "normal" result is. This is called a "reference range." It is just a guide. Your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed may still be normal for you.
  • Many diseases can cause LDH levels to go up. Other tests are usually needed to confirm a diagnosis.
  • For many healthy people, a slightly high LDH isn't serious. It can happen because of exercise or because of a technical problem with the test.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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