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Formal name: Plasma Albumin, Serum Albumin

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To screen for liver or kidney disease or to evaluate nutritional status, especially in hospitalised patients

When to Get Tested?

If your doctor thinks you have symptoms of liver or kidney disease, if you have a recent, rapid weight change, or prior to a planned surgery

Sample Required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed?


The Test Sample

What is being tested?

Albumin is the most abundant protein in the blood plasma. It keeps fluid from leaking out of blood vessels; nourishes tissues; and carries hormones, vitamins, drugs, and ions like calcium throughout the body. Albumin is made in the liver and is sensitive to liver damage. The level of albumin in the blood drops when the liver is damaged, with a type of kidney disease called nephrotic syndrome, when a person is malnourished, if a person experiences severe inflammation in the body, or with shock. Albumin increases when a person is dehydrated.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is taken by a needle from a vein.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

The Test

Common Questions

Ask a Laboratory Scientist

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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.

New References (Feb 2014)

Young NR. Baker HW. Liu G. Seeman E. Body composition and muscle strength in healthy men receiving testosterone enanthate for contraception. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 77(4):1028-32, 1993 Oct.

Peter Rhee, MD, MPH. Albumin. The Journal of TRAUMA® Injury, Infection, and Critical Care • Volume 70, Number 5, May Supplement 2011

Dustin R. Neel, MD, Stephen McClave, MD, Robert Martindale, MD. Hypoalbuminaemia in the perioperative period: Clinical significance and management options. Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology 25 (2011) 395–400

Mireille F. M. van Stijn, Ines Korkic-Halilovic, Marjan S. M. Bakker, Tjeerd van der Ploeg, Paul A. M. van Leeuwen and Alexander P. J. Houdijk. Preoperative Nutrition Status and Postoperative Outcome in Elderly General Surgery Patients : A Systematic Review. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2013 37: 37

Wenjun Z. Martini, Steven E. Wolf, David L. Chinkes, Kevin K. Chung, Michael A. Dubick, Lorne Blackbourne, and Yong-Ming Yu. Ehhanced albumin synthesis in severly burned adults. Shock, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 364Y368, 2010