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Albumin Blood Test

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KEY POINTS

  • This blood test measures a protein called albumin that is made by the liver.
  • This test is done to check for problems with your child’s liver or kidneys, or for problems being able to digest and absorb nutrients from food.
  • Make sure your child follows your healthcare provider’s instructions about eating, drinking, and exercising before the test.

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What is the albumin blood test?

This blood test measures a protein called albumin that is made by the liver. Albumin helps:

  • Keep fluid in the blood from leaking out of blood vessels
  • Carry calcium, hormones, medicines, and other substances through the blood
  • Get rid of extra fluid and grow and repair tissues

Why is this test done?

This test is done to check for problems with your child’s liver or kidneys, or for problems being able to digest and absorb nutrients from food.

The albumin test may help diagnose and treat a medical problem your child is having. It does not diagnose a specific problem, but it can help a healthcare provider know what other tests your child might need. It’s also a way to see how well treatments for certain diseases are working.

The albumin test is often done with other tests such as a urine albumin test, liver panel, creatinine test, or blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test as part of a physical exam or before your child has surgery.

How do I prepare my child for this test?

  • Your child may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your child’s healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that your child is taking. Ask your child’s provider before stopping any of your child’s regular medicines.
  • Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

Having this test will take just a few minutes. For young babies, the heel is pricked and a small amount of the blood is taken. For older children, a small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of your child’s test.

What do the test results mean?

Your child’s albumin level may be higher than normal if your child is dehydrated.

Your child’s albumin level may be lower than normal if your child has:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes, cancer, or another long-term disease
  • Low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism)
  • Burns or an infection
  • Malnutrition or an intestinal problem such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease

What if my child’s test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history, physical exam, and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the results and ask questions, such as:

  • Whether your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2018-11-02
Last reviewed: 2018-10-30
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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