Clinical use:

Raised if prolonged venous stasis applied during specimen collection. Lower if patient is recumbent.

Low in 2nd and 3rd trimester of normal pregnancy due to increase in plasma volume.

Part of liver function test (LFT).

Background:

Albumin is the most abundant protein in human plasma and is synthesised by the liver at a rate dependent on protein intake but also subject to plasma albumin levels. Normally very little is lost from the body by excretion. The main biological functions of albumin are to maintain osmotic pressure, to transport a wide range of molecules (including calcium, bilirubin, hormones and drugs) and to serve as an endogenous source of amino acids.

Moderate to large changes in albumin concentration have a significant effect on the relative amount of bound and free molecules it carries.

Since albumin synthesis mirrors protein intake, measurements have been used to determine nutritional status.

Reference ranges: 35 – 50 g/L
Associated diseases: Lower than normal levels:

  • Ascites
  • Extensive burns
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Liver disease
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Nephrotic syndrome
Patient preparation:
Specimen requirements: Serum or Lithium Heparin plasma
Turnaround time: 2 hours
Additional information:
Referred test: Performed in house
Location:
Page last updated on: 14 May 2015