total serum protein test measures the total amount of protein in the blood. It also measures the amounts
of two major groups of proteins in the blood: albumin and globulin.
is made mainly in the liver. It helps keep the blood from leaking out of blood vessels.
Albumin also helps carry some medicines and other substances through the blood and
is important for tissue growth and healing.
Globulin is made up of different
proteins called alpha, beta, and gamma types. Some globulins are made by the liver,
while others are made by the immune system. Certain globulins bind with hemoglobin. Other globulins transport metals,
such as iron, in the blood and help fight infection. Serum globulin can be separated
into several subgroups by serum protein electrophoresis. To learn more, see the topic
Serum Protein Electrophoresis.
A test for total serum protein reports
separate values for total protein, albumin, and globulin. Some types of globulin (such
as alpha-1 globulin) also may be measured.
Why It Is Done
is tested to:
Check how well the liver and kidneys are working.
out if your diet contains enough protein.
Help determine the cause of swelling
of the ankles (edema) or abdomen (ascites) or of fluid collection in the lungs
that may cause shortness of breath (pulmonary edema).
Globulin is tested
Determine your chances of developing an infection.
special preparation is required before having a total serum protein test.
to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks,
how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you understand the importance
of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a
It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins
below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
the needle site with alcohol.
Put the needle into the vein. More than one
needle stick may be needed.
Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
Put a gauze pad or
cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
Put pressure on
the site and then put on a bandage.
How It Feels
blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your
upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you
may feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance
of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
You may get
a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure
on the site for several minutes.
In rare cases, the vein may become swollen
after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress
can be used several times a day to treat this.
serum protein test is a blood test that measures the amounts of total protein, albumin, and globulin in the blood.
Results are usually available within 12 hours.
normal values listed here-called a reference range-are just a guide. These ranges
vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your
lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate
your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that
falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may
not be helpful include:
Taking medicines, such as corticosteroids, estrogens,
male sex hormones (called androgens), growth hormone, or insulin.
Prolonged bed rest, such as during a hospital stay.
long-term (chronic) illness, especially if the disease interferes with what you are
able to eat or drink.
What To Think
If you have abnormal globulin levels, another test called serum
protein electrophoresis is often done. This test measures specific groups of proteins
in the blood. To learn more, see the topic Serum Protein Electrophoresis.
Damaged liver cells lose their ability
to make protein. But previously produced protein may stay in the blood for 12 to 18
days, so it takes about 2 weeks for damage to the liver to show up as decreased serum
protein levels. The liver's ability to make protein may be used to predict the course
of certain liver diseases.
Unlike carbohydrates and fats, proteins are not stored
in the body. They are continuously broken down (metabolized) into amino acids that can be used to make new proteins,
hormones, enzymes, and other compounds needed by the body.
also can be measured in the urine. To learn more, see the topic Urine Test.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's
Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger
BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St.
Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE.
Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam
Husney, MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica,
MD - Family Medicine
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ
(2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis:
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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