LDH value • When lactate dehydrogenase is elevated

Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is an enzyme found in almost every cell in the body. An elevated LDH level is an indication of cell damage in the body, since the enzyme then escapes and becomes detectable in the blood. In which diseases is the LDH value increased?

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Blood count: important values ​​and what they mean

What is LDH?

Lactate dehydrogenase, LDH for short, is a metabolic enzyme that is involved in the production of energy from sugar in the cells. LDH is found in all cells, but the enzyme occurs in different variants (isoenzymes).

  • LDH-1 und LDH-2 are found primarily in the heart, kidneys and red blood cells.

  • LDH-3 is mainly found in the spleen, lungs, lymph nodes, blood platelets and endocrine glands.

  • LDH-4 und LDH-5 are found in the liver and skeletal muscle.

When and how is the LDH value determined?

The LDH value is determined in blood serum or blood plasma. Since the different LDH occur in different organs and cells, a different value can be the cause of several clinical pictures.

In healthy people, there is little LDH in the blood. If the value increases, this is a sign that cells are dying, for example in the event of a heart attack, diseases of the skeletal muscles, the liver or lung diseases. The exact form of the increased LDH value gives an indication of where in the body tissue has died or been damaged.

Reference range: what LDH level is considered normal?

Small amounts of LDH are also found in the blood of healthy people. The reference values ​​depend on age and gender. The LDH value is given in units per liter (U/l).

Alter masculine Female
6 to 12 years < 421 U/l < 329 U/l
12 to 18 years < 377 U/l < 249 U/l
from 18 years < 248 U/l < 247 U/l

There are still no differences between the sexes in infants and children, and the normal values ​​are also significantly higher for very small babies under one year old.

Alter normal value
2 to 5 days < 955 U/l
5 to 30 days < 538 U/l
30 days to 12 months < 606 U/l
1 to 3 years < 468 U/l
3 to 6 years < 340 U/l

LDH level increased: possible causes

Depending on the form of the lactate dehydrogenase, an increase in the LDH value can indicate various diseases, since several organs can be affected if the laboratory values ​​are elevated. Possible diseases are:

Muscle diseases are also possible causes. However, the LDH value can also be increased after accidents, sports or operations. In addition, the LDH value is increased in other types of cancer such as testicular cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

What can be the causes of an LDH value that is too low?

Since the LDH value indicates damage to cells in the body, only elevated values ​​are of medical importance. An LDH value that is too low has no relevance.


What does LDH stand for? LDH is short for lactate dehydrogenase, more rarely also referred to as lactate dehydrogenase.

What is LDH? LDH is a metabolic enzyme found in all cells of the body. If it is detectable in large quantities in the blood, this is an indication of the decay of cells.

When is the LDH blood level elevated? In various diseases associated with cell damage, such as a heart attack, hepatitis, cancer, pulmonary embolism or breakdown of red blood cells (hemolysis), anemia

In which types of cancer is the LDH level elevated? The blood level is too high, for example, in testicular cancer, lung cancer, blood cancer (leukemia), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.

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