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albumin test

Alternative Names 
protein, blood

This test measures the levels of albumin in the blood. Albumin is an important blood protein that is made by the liver and excreted by the kidneys.

Who is a candidate for the test? 
This test is normally performed to assist in diagnosing diseases that affect proteins in the body. It may be used to diagnose, evaluate and monitor the disease course in a person with cancer, intestinal or renal problems, liver disease, and immune disorders.

How is the test performed? 
A blood sample is taken to measure the amount of albumin in the blood. The blood is usually drawn from a vein in the forearm or the hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube, or tourniquet, is wrapped around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A very thin needle is gently inserted into a vein and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle and is collected into a syringe or vial. It is sent to the laboratory for testing. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.

What is involved in preparation for the test? 
A person having this test should request instructions on how to prepare from a doctor.

What do the test results mean? 
The normal amount of albumin in the blood ranges from 38 - 50 g/L (grams per litre).

Abnormally low concentrations of albumin in the blood may indicate:
  • ascites, an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal and pelvic cavity
  • extensive burns
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • malabsorption syndromes such as Crohn's disease, sprue, or Whipple's disease
  • malnutrition
Author: David T. Moran, MD
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


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