Total Serum Protein
A 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.
Albumin 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
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. For more information,
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
Albumin is tested to:
- Check how well the liver and kidneys are
- Find out if your diet contains enough
- 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 to:
How To Prepare
No special preparation is required before having a total serum
Talk 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
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap 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.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- 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
How It Feels
The 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.