Total Protein and A-G Ratio, FAQs

This is a test of nutritional status or to screen for certain liver and kidney problems. The total protein test is a rough measure of all of the proteins in the plasma portion of your blood. Total protein measures the combined amount of two classes of proteins, albumin and globulin. Albumin is a carrier of many small molecules, but its main purpose is to keep fluid from leaking out of blood vessels, while globulin proteins include enzymes , antibodies, and more than 500 other proteins.

HOW IS IT USED?

Total protein measurements can reflect nutritional status, kidney disease, liver disease, and many other conditions. If total protein is abnormal, further tests must be performed to identify which protein fraction is abnormal, so that a specific diagnosis can be made.

WHEN IS IT ORDERED?

Total protein is ordered to provide general information about your nutritional status, such as when you have undergone a recent weight loss. It is also ordered along with several other tests to provide information if you have symptoms that suggest a liver or kidney disorder, or to investigate the cause of abnormal pooling of fluid in tissue (edema).

SAMPLE COLLECTION

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm or by a fingerstick (for children and adults) or heelstick (for newborns).

NORMAL FINDINGS

Adult/Elderly

  • Total protein: 6.4-8.3 g/dL or 64-83 g/L (SI units)

  • Albumin: 3.5-5 g/dL or 35-50 g/L (SI units)

  • Globulin: 2.3-3.4 g/dL

  • Alpha1 globulin: 0.1-0.3 g/dL or 1-3 g/L (SI units)

  • Alpha2 globulin: 0.6-1 g/dL or 6-10 g/L (SI units)

  • Beta globulin: 0.7-1.1 g/dL or 7-11 g/L (SI units)

Children

  • Total protein

  • Premature infant: 4.2-7.6 g/dL

  • Newborn: 4.6-7.4 g/dL

  • Infant: 6-6.7 g/dL

  • Child: 6.2-8 g/dL

  • Albumin

  • Premature infant: 3-4.2 g/dL

  • Newborn: 3.5-5.4 g/dL

  • Infant: 4.4-5.4 g/dL

  • Child: 4-5.9 g/dL

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.