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What is it?
Prealbumin is a protein in the body and can be measured with a blood test. This protein tells about nutritional status. Prealbumin testing must be done if you are in the hospital to make sure you are not malnourished. Malnourished is when your diet does not meet the energy or growth needs of your body. Prealbumin levels also tell if you are responding to nutritional support.
Why do I need it?
Low levels of prealbumin are found if you have poor nutrition. If you have low levels of prealbumin, you are more likely to get infections and bed sores. It may take longer for wounds, including surgical, to heal. This often prolongs the hospital stay. Caregivers will explain the test and why you need it.
How do I get ready for the test?
Your caregiver will tell you when to have your blood test done. The blood test may be done before or after eating. You may need to stop taking some medicines before the test. Your caregiver will tell you when to take your normal medicines.
How is the specimen collected?
A caregiver will put a wide rubber strap around your arm and tighten it. Your skin will be cleaned with alcohol. A small needle attached to a special test tube will be put into a vein in your arm or hand. The tube has suction to pull the blood into it. When the tube is full, the rubber strap, needle and tube are removed. The caregiver will press a piece of cotton where the needle was removed. You may be asked to hold the cotton on the site for a few minutes to help stop the bleeding. Tape may then be put over the cotton on your arm.
What do I do after the test?
You may remove the tape and cotton in about 20 to 30 minutes. Call your caregiver to get the results of your test. Your caregiver will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your caregiver.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.