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Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test

Last updated March 3, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test helps determine the level of hydroxybutyric dehydrogenase in blood. It is used to diagnose recent heart trauma, such as a heart attack.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Alpha-Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test
  • HBDH Blood Test
  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase Blood Test

What is Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Hydroxybutyric dehydrogenase (HBD) is an enzyme found mostly in the heart muscle. It is clinically valuable because it signifies heart muscle damage, which typically occurs after a heart attack
  • HBD levels rise in blood 8 to 10 hours following heart muscle damage and peak after 2-4 days. They may remain elevated for up to 18 days, which is a long time relative to other heart muscle damage indicators
  • The Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test helps determine the level of hydroxybutyric dehydrogenase in blood. It is used to diagnose recent heart trauma, such as a heart attack

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test: 

  • Intense chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness 

How is the Specimen Collected for Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test Result?

A high value (greater than 290 unit/L) for the Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test may indicate:

  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Liver disease
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Anemia

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Hydroxybutyric dehydrogenase is also found in the brain and kidneys
  • HBD is one of several factors tested for muscle damage. Other factors include aspartate aminotransferase, creatinine phosphokinase, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
  • The Hydroxybutyric Dehydrogenase Blood Test is a relatively inexpensive test in comparison to other tests, which are used to assess recent heart attacks

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website link is a useful resource for additional information:


Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 1, 2016
Last updated: March 3, 2018