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Methylmalonic acid test


Definition:

Methylmalonic acid is a substance produced when proteins (called amino acids) in the body break down.

A test can be done to measure the amount of methylmalonic acid in your blood.

How the test is performed:

A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture

How to prepare for the test:

No special preparation is necessary.

How the test will feel:

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed:

Your doctor may order this test if there are signs of certain genetic disorders, such as methylmalonic acidemia. Testing for this disorder is often done as part of a newborn screening exam.

This test may also be done with other tests to check for a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Normal Values:

Normal values are 0.08 to 0.56 micromoles per liter.

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean:

Greater than normal values may be due to vitamin B12 deficiency or methylmalonic acidemia.

What the risks are:

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
References:

Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 167.


Review Date: 11/17/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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