The Protein, Total and Protein Electrophoresis, with Scan test contains 1 test with 11 biomarkers.
Brief Description: The Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan Test is a combination of two diagnostic tools. The first, Protein Total, measures the total amount of protein in the blood serum. The second, Protein Electrophoresis, separates these proteins into different fractions based on their size and electrical charge, typically visualizing albumin, alpha-1, alpha-2, beta, and gamma globulins. The scan provides a graphical representation of these protein fractions, allowing for the identification and quantification of abnormal protein bands, such as a monoclonal spike (M-spike), which can be indicative of specific conditions.
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When and Why a Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan Test May be Ordered
This test is typically ordered:
- When a patient shows symptoms that suggest a protein abnormality, like edema, unexpected weight loss, fatigue, or weakness.
- As part of routine health screenings, especially in older adults.
- To monitor certain conditions or the effects of specific treatments.
What the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan Test Checks For
The test aims to:
- Determine Total Protein Level: Evaluates overall health and nutritional status.
- Profile of Individual Proteins: By separating the proteins based on their size and charge, this test helps identify any abnormalities in the amount or pattern of serum proteins.
- Identify Abnormal Protein Bands: Abnormalities, like a monoclonal spike (often seen in myeloma), can be indicative of specific diseases.
Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan Test
If an abnormality is detected, further tests might be ordered for a definitive diagnosis:
- Immunofixation Electrophoresis: Helps to identify the specific type of abnormal protein.
- Quantitative Immunoglobulins: Measures the levels of specific types of immunoglobulins in the blood.
- Bone Marrow Biopsy: May be needed if a plasma cell disorder is suspected.
- Urine Protein Electrophoresis: Sometimes, abnormal proteins are excreted in the urine and can provide additional diagnostic insights.
Conditions or Diseases that Require the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan Test
Several conditions or diseases can cause abnormal serum protein levels or patterns:
- Multiple Myeloma: A cancer of plasma cells, it often produces an M-spike on electrophoresis.
- Waldenström Macroglobulinemia: A type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Chronic Inflammatory Conditions: Such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Liver Disorders: Like cirrhosis, which can alter protein production.
- Kidney Diseases: That might lead to abnormal protein loss in the urine.
Usage of Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan Test Results by Health Care Providers
Doctors use the results of this test to:
- Diagnose: Abnormal protein patterns can point towards specific conditions.
- Monitor Disease Progression: In patients already diagnosed with a disease, the test can track the progress or regression of the condition.
- Evaluate Treatment Efficacy: For diseases like multiple myeloma, this test can help assess how well a treatment is working.
However, findings are generally evaluated in the context of other clinical and laboratory information to arrive at a comprehensive diagnosis.
Most Common Questions About the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test:
Purpose and Indications for the Test
Why is the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test performed?
The Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test is primarily used to measure and identify the amounts and types of protein present in the blood. It aids in diagnosing conditions related to abnormal protein levels, such as multiple myeloma, liver diseases, kidney diseases, and other protein-related disorders.
What conditions can be diagnosed or suspected using the test?
Conditions that can be suspected or diagnosed using the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test include multiple myeloma, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, amyloidosis, liver disorders, kidney diseases, and other conditions that affect protein metabolism or production.
Interpreting the Results
What does an abnormal protein pattern indicate in the Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test?
An abnormal protein pattern can indicate various conditions depending on the specific proteins that are elevated or decreased. For example, a spike in the gamma region can indicate a monoclonal gammopathy such as multiple myeloma, while decreased albumin levels can suggest liver disease or malnutrition.
Can this test differentiate between various protein disorders?
Yes, the Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test provides a visual representation (often a graph or chart) of protein distribution. The specific pattern observed can help differentiate between different protein disorders. For example, multiple myeloma may present a distinctive spike in a particular protein zone, whereas other disorders might display different patterns.
Implications and Management
If an abnormal protein is detected, what are the next steps?
If an abnormal protein is detected using the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test, further diagnostic tests might be recommended. This can include specific immunoassays, bone marrow biopsies, or kidney and liver function tests, depending on the suspected condition.
How often should one undergo the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test if diagnosed with a protein disorder?
The frequency of the test largely depends on the specific condition diagnosed and the treatment plan. In some cases, especially where treatment is initiated, the test might be repeated periodically to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and track the levels of specific proteins.
Test Mechanisms and Specifics
How do the total protein and electrophoresis tests differ?
While the total protein test measures the combined amount of all proteins present in a blood sample, the protein electrophoresis test separates these proteins based on their size and charge. This separation allows for a more detailed analysis of the specific types and quantities of proteins present.
Can the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test be used in conjunction with other tests?
Yes, often the Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test is used alongside other tests, such as urine protein electrophoresis, immunofixation, or specific organ function tests, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the diagnosed or suspected condition.
Why is the scan component crucial in the Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test?
The scan provides a visual representation of the separated proteins, allowing healthcare professionals to identify specific patterns associated with certain conditions. Without the scan, only total protein amounts could be determined, which would not offer as much diagnostic insight.
Are there any diseases where the test results might be inconclusive or require further validation?
Yes, in some cases, the patterns observed in the Protein Electrophoresis with Scan test might be ambiguous or not definitive for a specific condition. In such cases, further validation through additional diagnostic tests or clinical evaluation is required.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.