The urobilinogen test detects impaired liver function by measuring urine levels of urobilinogen, the colorless, water-soluble product that results from the reduction of bilirubin by intestinal bacteria. Absent or altered urobilinogen levels can indicate hepatic damage or dysfunction. Increased urine urobilinogen levels may indicate hemolysis of red blood cells.
Quantitative analysis of urine urobilinogen involves addition of Ehrlich's reagent to a 2 hour urine specimen. The resulting color reaction is read promptly by spectrophotometry.
Procedure And Posttest Care
Normally, urine urobilinogen values are less than 4 mg/24 hours.
Abnormal FindingsAbsence of urine urobilinogen may result from complete obstructive jaundice or treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics, which destroy the intestinal bacterial flora. Low urine urobilinogen levels may result from congenital enzymatic jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia syndromes) or from treatment with drugs that acidify urine, such as ammonium chloride or ascorbic acid. Elevated levels may indicate hemolytic jaundice, hepatitis, or cirrhosis.
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