Plasma or serum levels of albumin are frequently used to assess nutritional status
Albumin is a carbohydrate-free protein, which constitutes 55% to 65% of total plasma protein. It maintains oncotic plasma pressure, is involved in the transport and storage of a wide variety of ligands, and is a source of endogenous amino acids. Albumin binds and solubilizes various compounds, including bilirubin, calcium, long-chain fatty acids, toxic heavy metal ions, and numerous pharmaceuticals.
Hypoalbuminemia is caused by several factors: impaired synthesis due either to liver disease (primary) or due to diminished protein intake (secondary); increased catabolism as a result of tissue damage and inflammation; malabsorption of amino acids; and increased renal excretion (eg, nephrotic syndrome).
> or =12 months: 3.5-5.0 g/dL
Reference values have not been established for patients who are <12 months of age.
Hyperalbuminemia is of little diagnostic significance except in the case of dehydration. When plasma or serum albumin values fall below 2.0 g/dL, edema is usually present.
Albumin values determined by the bromcresol green method may not be identical to the albumin values determined by electrophoresis.
Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature
1. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry. Edited by CA Burtis, ER Ashwood. Philadelphia, WB Saunders Company, 1999
2. Peters T, Jr: Serum albumin. In The Plasma Proteins. Second edition. Vol 1. Edited by F Putnam, New York, Academic Press, 1975