Protein (total) - serum or plasma

Last updated: Thursday, 25, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in plain or lithium heparin tube, avoiding excessive venous stasis.

Method

Spectrophotometry.

Reference Interval

Neonate: 40-75 g/L
Child <2 years: 50-75 g/L
Adult: 62-80 g/L

Posture influences levels, recumbent levels are approximately 10-15% lower.

Application

Used in conjunction with albumin to calculate globulin.

Diagnosis and monitoring of hyper- and hypo-gammaglobulinaemia, protein losing states and malnutrition.

In most situations specific protein assay is required.

See Albumin - plasma or serum and Globulins - serum.

Interpretation

Depends on the levels of albumin and immunoglobulins, which are the only proteins present in serum in sufficient concentration to significantly alter total protein levels. Increased levels also occur after excessive venous stasis during blood collection and in dehydration.

ReferenceSilverman LM and Christenson RH. In: Curtis CA and Ashwood ER eds. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry. 2nd ed. WB Saunders 1994.