Microalbuminuria test

Definition
This is a test to detect small quantities of urine albumin.

How the test is performed
A 24-hour urine sample is needed. The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test.

     
  • On day 1, urinate into the toilet upon arising in the morning.  
  • Collect all subsequent urine (in a special container) for the next 24-hours.  
  • On day 2, urinate into the container in the morning upon arising.  
  • Cap the container. Keep it in the refrigerator or a cool place during the collection period. Label the container with your name, the date, the time of completion, and return it as instructed.

For an infant, thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a Urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For boys, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For girls, the bag is placed over the labia. Place a diaper over the infant (bag and all).

The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts-lively infants can displace the bag, making it difficult to obtain the specimen. The urine is drained into the container for transport to the laboratory.

Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test, but if the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.

How the test will feel
The test involves only normal urination, there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed

The main reason for performing the test is early detection of diabetic nephropathy in a patient who has had Diabetes for several years.

Normally, most protein stays in the body, and little or no protein appears in the urine. (Normally, less than 150 mg of small proteins per day is excreted in urine. About one-third of this protein is albumin.)

Normal Values


Normally, there is less than 43 milligrams per day of albumin in urine.

What abnormal results mean


If the level of proteins in the urine is too high, this indicates a problem with kidney function. Albuminuria is when albumin is too high in the urine. It is a typical finding of disorders such as diabetic nephropathy. The beginning of this condition is called microalbuminuria.

What the risks are

There are no risks.

Special considerations

Healthy people may exceed normal levels after strenuous exercise or with dehydration.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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