Your source for clinical lab test information.

Sample

Precaution

Indications

  1. This test is needed:
    1. in liver diseases.
    2. kidneys diseases and nephrotic syndrome patient.
    3. In patients with severe burn.
    4. As a part of other tests.
    5. In a patient suspected of malnutrition.

Pathophysiology

  1. This is the most abundant protein in the blood.
  2. Plasma proteins are separated into three major groups:
    1. Fibrinogen.
    2. Globulins.
    3. Albumin
  3. The most common method is electrophoresis. This forms 5 bands named as:
    1. Albumin.
    2. α1 fraction.
    3. α2 fraction.
    4. β fraction.
    5. γ fraction.

                       

  1. Albumin makes 40 to 60% of the total proteins.
    1. Because of its high concentration in the plasma and small molecular size, it is found in the most of the extravascular fluids, CSF, amniotic fluid, urine and interstitial fluid.
    2. It is highly water soluble due to its negative charge at normal pH.
    3. Albumin half-life is 15 to 19 days.

  1. It is needed to maintain the osmotic pressure in the blood vessels without which fluids will leak out.
  2. It is extremely sensitive to liver damage.
  3. This protein is synthesized in the liver and reflects the function of the liver, kidney, or malnutrition.
  4. Albumin binds bilirubin, free fatty acids, calcium, and a number of drugs.
  5. Low albumin results in Edema.
  6. Decreased synthesis in the liver is seen in acute or chronic liver diseases, Amyloidosis, malnutrition, and malignancy.
  7. Its role in transporting bilirubin, bile acids, metal ions, and drugs will be markedly affected by variation in its concentration.

  1. The presence of albumin in the urine indicates kidney disease.
  2. Dehydration leads to increase in albumin level (Hyperalbuminemia).
  3. Albumin provides nutrition to the tissues and binds various molecules like hormones, vitamin, and drugs.
  4. Albumin acts as a carrier protein for bilirubin, calcium, progesterone, and drugs. 

 

 

Normal

Albumin level decreases in:

  1. Acute and chronic inflammations: 
    1. The cause is hemodilution, loss into extravascular space, increased consumption by the cells and decreased synthesis.
      1. like Rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatous process, most bacterial infections, vasculitis, ulcerative bowel disease, and certain parasitic infestation.
  2. Due to decreased synthesis by the liver:
    1. This may be due to the increased amount of immunoglobulins, loss of albumin into the extravascular space.
    2. This may be also due to the decreased synthesis because of toxins or alcohol.
    3. The liver can compensate the synthesis of albumin approximately up to 95% of the loss of liver function.  
      1. In acute and chronic liver diseases, Amyloidosis, Malignancies, Congestive heart disease, and constrictive pericarditis.
  3. Increased loss via body fluids:
    1. In  Nephrotic syndrome, thermal burns, trauma and crush injuries, and transudation and exudation from any hollow organs.

  1. Increased catabolism:
    1. leads to decrease albumins like fever, antimetabolites, thyrotoxicosis, and certain malignancies.
  2. A gastrointestinal loss:
    1. With the inflammatory disease of GIT. 
    2. Chronic protein-losing enteropathy.
  3. Increased blood volume (hypervolemia):
    1. leads to decrease albumin-like pregnancy, exogenous estrogen therapy, Myeloma and congestive heart failure.
  4. Serum level decreases in pregnant ladies.
  5. The person on a low protein diet.
  6. It decreases:
    1. After weight loss surgery.
    2. Whipple disease.
    3. Sprue.
    4. Crohn's disease.

 Albumin level increases in:

  1. Naturally, there is no reason for the increase in the albumin level.
  2. Dehydration or any other cause leading to decrease in the plasma volume causes an increase in the level.
  3. High protein diet.
  4. When the tourniquet is applied for a long time. 

Tabulated causes of Hyperalbuminemia and Hypoalbuminemia:

Hypoalbuminemia Hyperalbuminemia
Nephrotic syndrome Dehydration

Burns

High protein diet
Blood loss False value due to prolonged tourniquet
Malignancies  
Inflammatory process  
Liver diseases  
Decreased protein intake  
Ascites  

Possible References Used

Back to tests