Question: What Is Serum Albumin?
Serum albumin is a large protein produced in the liver that is present in the blood in large quantities. It is used as a marker of nutrition and liver function. The concentration of albumin in your blood can provide information about your liver. It can be low in many chronic liver disease states, such as cirrhosis
. However, it can also be low for other reasons -- in malnourished patients and conditions like nephrotic syndrome and systemic inflammation. Serum albumin concentration can be high in dehydrated patients.
Serum albumin is not as helpful in the diagnosis of acute liver dysfunction such as acute viral hepatitis, drug-related hepatotoxicity and obstructive jaundice.
Kaplan, MM. "Tests of the Liver's Biosynthetic Capacity." UpToDate. Accessed: March 25, 2009.
Pratt, DS, Kaplan, MM. "Evaluation of Liver Function." Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 17e. 2008.