Prealbumin Most Popular

The Prealbumin test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Description: The prealbumin test is a blood test that checks for the protein prealbumin or transthyretin in your blood’s serum.

Also Known As: Thyroxine-binding Prealbumin Test, Transthyretin Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

Average Processing Time: 5 to 6 days

When is a Prealbumin test ordered?

When signs and symptoms of malnutrition are evident or when a person is thought to be at risk for malnutrition, such as during a critical or chronic disease, hospitalization, or when receiving parenteral nourishment or undergoing hemodialysis, certain health practitioners may prescribe a prealbumin test. It could also be requested to help determine the severity of a patient's disease.

What does a Prealbumin blood test check for?

Prealbumin, commonly known as transthyretin, is a significant protein in the blood that is largely produced by the liver. Its job is to transport thyroxine and vitamin A around the body. This test determines the blood amount of prealbumin.

Despite its widespread usage as a malnutrition indicator, research is still underway to better understand the functions of prealbumin in the body, including the causes for changes seen during illness and the clinical relevance of prealbumin testing.

Lab tests often ordered with a Prealbumin test:

  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Albumin

Conditions where a Prealbumin test is recommended:

  • Malnutrition

How does my health care provider use a Prealbumin test?

Until recently, the prealbumin test was thought to be a good marker of nutritional status, and it was used to detect and diagnose protein-calorie malnutrition, as well as to monitor persons on complete parenteral nutrition. It was also used to track changes in nutritional status in patients receiving hemodialysis as part of their renal disease treatment.

Changes in prealbumin may really represent other illnesses such as inflammation, infection, or trauma, which is why some health practitioners continue to utilize the test in this way. As a result, several medical professionals have proposed that the prealbumin test no longer be used to monitor nutritional status or diagnose malnutrition. Others, on the other hand, feel that the test can help determine prognosis for those who are severely sick, hospitalized, or at risk of poor outcomes, and that it can prompt nutritional and other interventions that can help improve patient outcomes.

What do my Prealbumin test results mean?

Prealbumin levels are varied depending on age and gender.

Prealbumin deficiency can be found in:

  • Malnutrition
  • Illness that is severe or ongoing
  • Inflammation
  • Burns and other forms of trauma
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Infections that are serious
  • Some intestinal problems

Prealbumin results are difficult to interpret because of the ongoing debate about the appropriate use of this test as researchers continue to investigate the role of prealbumin in the body and what changes in its level in the body imply. A single prealbumin result, according to some, is less important than a series of measurements done several days apart, as well as additional clinical assessments and laboratory tests. Measures of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein, may be requested to help interpret the prealbumin results, for example.

Although a high level of prealbumin may be observed in some illnesses, the test is not utilized to diagnose or monitor these conditions.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Thyroxine Binding Prealbumin, Thyroxine-binding Prealbumin, Transthyretin


Prealbumin, also called transthyretin, is one of the major proteins in the blood and is produced primarily by the liver. Its functions are to carry thyroxine (the main thyroid hormone) and vitamin A throughout the body. This test measures the level of prealbumin in the blood.
*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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