Test Catalog

Test ID: PALB    
Prealbumin, Serum

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Assessing nutritional status, especially in monitoring the response to nutritional support in the acutely ill patient

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Prealbumin is synthesized in the liver and acts as a binding protein for thyroxine and retinol-binding protein.


The serum concentration of prealbumin reflects the synthesis capacity of the liver and is markedly diminished in malnutrition and other conditions.


Due to its short half-life of approximately 2 days, prealbumin can be used for monitoring the nutritional status and efficacy of parenteral nutrition.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

< or =18 years: 12-32 mg/dL

>18 years: 19-38 mg/dL

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Results below the reference intervals for adults and pediatric patients may suggest protein depletion.

Clinical correlation recommended with patient status and other nutritional markers.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

No significant cautionary statements

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Haider M, Haider SQ: Assessment of protein-calorie malnutrition. Clin Chem 1984;30:1286-1299

2. Grant JP, Custer PB, Thurlow J: Current techniques of nutritional assessment. Surg Clin North Am 1981;61:437-463

3. Bernstein LH, Leukhardt-Fairfield CJ, Pleban W, et al: Usefulness of data on albumin and prealbumin concentrations in determining effectiveness of nutritional support. Clin Chem 1989;35:271-274

4. Kanakoudi F, Drossou V, Tzimouli V, et al: Serum concentrations of 10 acute-phase proteins in healthy term and pre-term infants from birth to age 6 months. Clin Chem 1995;41:605-608

5. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Sixth edition. Edited by N Rafai, AR Horvath, CT Wittwer. Elsevier, 2018