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LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) Test

Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is a marker for these blood cells and tissue damage in the body. It is normal to have some amount of LDH in the body, while high levels are associated with many different diseases and conditions.

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What is a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test? 

Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is an enzyme that is required for the process of turning sugar into energy for the cells. LDH is present in all kinds of organs and tissues throughout the body, including the liver, heart, pancreas, kidneys, skeletal muscles, lymph tissue, and blood cells.


When an illness or injury damages your cells, LDH may be released into the bloodstream, causing the level of LDH in your blood to rise. High levels of LDH in the blood point to acute or chronic cell damage, but additional tests are necessary to discover its cause. Abnormally low LDH levels only occur rarely and usually aren’t considered as harmful.


What are the other names for a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test? 

Other names are:  LDH test, lactic dehydrogenase, lactic acid dehydrogenase


What are the test parameters included in a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test?

There is only one parameter: Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) Test

What does a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test measure? 

Lactate dehydrogenase is an enzyme that plays an essential role in the production of energy from glucose. It is present in all the cells of the body, with the highest concentrations being in the cells of the heart, lungs, muscles, liver, kidneys, and blood. Normally, only a small amount of the enzyme is found in the serum and outside blood cells. However, in certain conditions of damage to the cells, lactate dehydrogenase is secreted out of the cells into the serum, where it’s concentration rises. Thus, the serum lactate dehydrogenase test is a nonspecific test that helps to determine the presence of conditions that are causing tissue damage somewhere in the body. Further tests are conducted to identify the exact cause and location of these conditions.


The total lactate dehydrogenase in the body consists of five different forms of enzymes (isoenzymes) named LDH-1 to LDH-5. These isoenzymes are present in different concentrations in different organs of the body. For example, LDH-1 and LDH-2 are the most abundant in the cells of the heart, while LDH-5 is most abundant in the liver. Although the total LDH values can indicate the tissue damage somewhere in the body, testing for the different isoenzymes can help identify the location of such damage.


Lactate dehydrogenase is also secreted into the other body fluids in case of damage to the body tissues. This is also produced by bacteria and can be thus used to help identify bacterial meningitis.


What’s the normal range? 

313 to 618 U/L


Who should get a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test? 

A lactate dehydrogenase test may be included with other tests to aid in the diagnosis of heart disease, to assess the prognosis of certain types of cancer, and to monitor the disease progression or response to treatment.

Lactate dehydrogenase testing is often recommended when your health care provider suspects you having an acute or chronic health condition that is causing the tissue damage. In this particular case of tissue damage, conditions that may affect the heart, lungs, blood, kidney, and liver may be evaluated and monitored with LDH testing.


The LDH blood test may be performed when a person has signs of infection, like organ failure or drug reaction.

Chronic conditions of tissue damage develop slowly over time and usually require periodic testing to check for signs of disease progression. The LDH blood testing can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of chronic conditions like anaemia and liver diseases, including hepatitis.


LDH testing of other bodily fluids in the brain and spine, chest, or abdomen may be ordered along with other tests to evaluate conditions that cause tissue damage in these areas.


Patients with certain types of cancers, including melanoma, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and testicular cancer may undertake LDH testing to determine the severity or stage of the disease.  LDH testing might also be performed during and after cancer treatment to assess a patient’s prognosis, which describes the likely outcome of the disease.

Because LDH is a nonspecific and general marker of tissue or cell damage, there are many circumstances that may prompt its use. You can ask the doctor about the purpose of LDH testing for your situation.


Preparations needed for the Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test 

There is no preparation for this test. Fasting is not required.

What is the cost of a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test?

What is the type of sample required?

This test requires a blood sample.

Who performs a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test?

A healthcare provider called a phlebotomist usually performs blood draws, including those for a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) blood test, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. The samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually it is done.


What should I expect during my Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) Test?

You can expect the experience the following during a blood test or blood draw:

  • You will sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.

  • Once they have located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.

  • Then they will insert a small needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. This might feel like a small pinch.

  • After they have inserted the needle, the required amount of blood will collect in a test tube.

  • Once they have collected enough blood to test, they’ll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop any bleeding.

  • They will place a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.

This process takes less than five minutes.


What should I expect after my Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test?

After a healthcare provider has collected the blood sample, they will send it to a laboratory for testing. Once the test results are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.


What are the risks of a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test?

These blood tests are very common and don’t carry any significant risks. You may have a  slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise may develop there.

When can I expect my Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test results?

These reports are available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours of the collection of the blood sample.

What do the results of a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test mean?


Interpreting test results

The test report will show your level of LDH and include information on the reference ranges applied to your results. Reference ranges are the test result ranges that are considered expected for a healthy individual.


LDH reference ranges are set by the laboratory that is evaluating the blood or body fluid sample based on their equipment and methodology. Because reference ranges can vary from laboratory to laboratory, it is important for a health care provider to help you interpret the test results.


LDH may be elevated in a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. The interpretation of an elevated LDH level depends on several factors, including the reason for the test, the patient’s history and physical exam, and other laboratory test results.

Elevations in LDH levels are sometimes seen in healthy patients. But further investigation is not recommended unless other signs or symptoms of the disease are present. Children typically have higher normal values of LDH than adults.


An abnormally low LDH test result is uncommon. A high vitamin C or E intake may cause low test results. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to create lactate dehydrogenase.


By using lactate dehydrogenase to assess and monitor certain cancers

Analysing LDH can be useful in assessing the severity and progression of cancer. The LDH testing may be performed in patients diagnosed with melanoma, multiple myeloma, some non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, testicular cancer, and other types of cancer.


After certain cancers have been diagnosed, routine testing of LDH may be helpful. Analysing the LDH may help the doctors to understand how severe the cancer is, how likely it is to respond to the treatment, and whether the patient has returned after treatment for the follow-up. The higher levels of LDH might indicate a higher number of cancer cells that are present in the body, which is referred to as a “high tumor burden.”


The LDH can also be used as a tumor marker during and after cancer treatment. This means LDH measurements are taken periodically and compared to the previous measurements. If the LDH values decrease, it may be a sign that the cancer is responding to the therapy. An increase in the LDH may be a sign that the cancer is not responding to treatment or has returned after treatment.

What other tests should I take along with this test?

CKMB Mass, Troponin I.

How to book a Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) Test at home?

Log into and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

FAQs on LDH Test

What values are considered high levels for LDH?

A high value of LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) in the blood is a sign of tissue damage, mainly in injuries that affect the heart, liver, skeletal muscle, kidney, lungs, and RBCs. Increased levels of LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) are found in many diseases, such as myocardial infarction, pulmonary diseases, hepatic diseases, haemolytic anemia, renal diseases, and muscular dystrophies. 


What is the normal LDH level?

A reference range is 313 – 618 U/L units per litre, U/L). Normal ranges might vary slightly among different laboratories. 


Why is the LDH test required?

An LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) test is most often done to find out if you have any tissue damage and to monitor the disorder that causes tissue damage. 


Why is LDH high in COVID?

LDH test values increase in Covid-19 in the early stages of muscle injury as well as in the state of haemolysis. It will be very active in the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, brain, and red blood cells. LDH is released into the bloodstream in the event of cell damage. Its concentration and activity in LDH increase in the blood.   


Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) test value increases in the COVID-19 in the early stage of myocardial infarction as well as in a state of haemolysis. It is very active in the liver, striated muscles, heart, kidneys, lungs, brain, and red blood cells. In the case of cell damage, LDH is released from inside. Its concentration and activity in the LDH increase in the blood. 


What are the symptoms of high LDH?

There are no symptoms of high LDH, but the conditions that include increased levels of LDH may include: blood flow deficiency, cerebrovascular accident, also known as a stroke, certain cancers, heart attack, liver disease, pancreatitis, tissue death, sepsis, and septic shock.

Lactate dehydrogenase(LDH) is present in many cells in the body. High levels of LDH might indicate a number of conditions. Increased levels of LDH may include: blood flow deficiency, cerebrovascular accident, also known as a stroke, certain cancers, heart attack, liver disease, pancreatitis, tissue death, sepsis, and septic shock.

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