Total Protein: About Your Child's Test

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What is it?

A total serum protein test measures protein in the blood. It also measures the amounts of two major groups of proteins: albumin and globulin.

Why is it done?

Albumin is tested to:

  • See how well the liver and kidneys are working.
  • Find out if your child's diet contains enough protein.
  • Help find the cause of swelling of the ankles or belly. The test can also find the cause of fluid that builds up in the lungs. This fluid may cause shortness of breath.

Globulin is tested to find out how well your child's body is able to fight off infection.

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, you won't need to prepare before your child has this test. Your doctor may give you some specific instructions.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.