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Test ID: PALB Prealbumin, Serum

Reporting Name

Prealbumin (PAB), S

Useful For

Assessing nutritional status, especially in monitoring the response to nutritional support in the acutely ill patient

Clinical Information

Prealbumin is synthesized in the liver and acts as a binding protein for thyroxine and retinol-binding protein.


The serum concentration of prealbumin reflects the synthesis capacity of the liver and is markedly diminished in malnutrition and other conditions.


Due to its short half-life of approximately 2 days, prealbumin can be used for monitoring the nutritional status and efficacy of parenteral nutrition.


Results below the reference intervals for adults and pediatric patients may suggest protein depletion.

Clinical correlation recommended with patient status and other nutritional markers.

Report Available

1 to 3 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Friday

Clinical Reference

1. Haider M, Haider SQ: Assessment of protein-calorie malnutrition. Clin Chem 1984;30:1286-1299

2. Grant JP, Custer PB, Thurlow J: Current techniques of nutritional assessment. Surg Clin North Am 1981;61:437-463

3. Bernstein LH, Leukhardt-Fairfield CJ, Pleban W, et al: Usefulness of data on albumin and prealbumin concentrations in determining effectiveness of nutritional support. Clin Chem 1989;35:271-274

4. Kanakoudi F, Drossou V, Tzimouli V, et al: Serum concentrations of 10 acute-phase proteins in healthy term and pre-term infants from birth to age 6 months. Clin Chem 1995;41:605-608

5. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Sixth edition. Edited by N Rafai, AR Horvath, CT Wittwer. Elsevier, 2018

Method Name


Specimen Type


Ordering Guidance

This is an immunologic protein measurement. For thyroxine-binding measurement of prealbumin, see TBPE / Thyroxine-Binding Protein Electrophoresis, Serum.

Specimen Required


Preferred: Serum gel

Acceptable: Red top

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Collection Instructions: Centrifuge and aliquot serum into a plastic vial.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.5 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Serum Refrigerated (preferred) 28 days
  Frozen  28 days
  Ambient  14 days

Reference Values

≤18 years: 12-32 mg/dL

>18 years: 19-38 mg/dL

Test Classification

This test has been cleared, approved, or is exempt by the US Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
PALB Prealbumin (PAB), S 46130-1


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
PALB Prealbumin (PAB), S 46130-1
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