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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > Total Protein

Total Protein

Alternate Names : Serum Total Protein

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

A total protein test measures the total amount of protein in the blood. There are two major types of proteins in the blood: albumin and globulin. A change in the level of either type of protein may cause an abnormal total protein value.

Who is a candidate for the test?

Total protein may be measured for many different reasons. For example, a healthcare provider may measure total protein if he or she suspects or finds:

  • abnormal swelling in the body
  • certain types of blood cancer
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • nutritional problems, including malnutrition
  • How is the test performed?

    To measure total protein in the bloodstream, a blood sample is needed. Blood is usually taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube, or tourniquet, is wrapped around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A fine needle is gently inserted into a vein, and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle and is collected in a syringe or vial. The blood is then sent to the laboratory for testing. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.


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    Total Protein: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Kimberly Tessmer, RD, LD
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 08/13/01

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