Transthyretin Test, Prealbumin

This is a test used to diagnose patients with malnutrition and to monitor patients at risk for poor nutrition. This test is sometimes done if your caregiver suspects you are malnourished. This could be due to a poor diet, HIV, an eating disorder, if you are about to be admitted to the hospital for surgery, if are hospitalized with certain diseases, or if you are having intravenous nutrition or hemodialysis. The test measures levels of prealbumin, an important protein found in the blood serum. Prealbumin has a half-life of only two days, which means that it breaks down quickly in the body and the amount changes quickly. This short half-life helps doctors to get a more immediate picture of your nutrition.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

NORMAL FINDINGS

Blood:

  • Adult/elderly:

  • 15-36 mg/dL or 150-360 mg/L (SI units)

  • Child:

  • Less than 5 days: 6-21 mg/dL

  • 1-5 years: 14-30 mg/dL

  • 6-9 years: 15-33 mg/dL

  • 10-13 years: 22-36 mg/dL

  • 14-19 years: 22-45 mg/dL

Urine:

  • (24-Hour): 0.017-0.047 mg/day

CSF:

  • Approximately 2% of total cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein

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.