Q: What does a -<20 result of a POC microalbumin test mean? Is a low result considered good or bad?

A: A low result on a point of care (POC) microalbumin test is desirable. Measuring urine microalbumin simply refers to the detection of small amounts of the protein albumin in urine. Albumin is the major constituent of your total protein, and carries out many functions within the body. The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste products from the body, but they are also designed to conserve necessary proteins in the blood. If proteins, such as albumin, are being found in the urine, this is an indication that the kidneys are damaged, and are allowing proteins to pass through the glomerular membrane.

If microalbumin is being detected in a POC microabulmin test of the urine, it is an indicator of early stage kidney damage, as only a small concentration of this protein is present in the urine. As kidney damage progresses, higher concentrations will pass through the kidneys into the urine, and albumin will be measurable (this refers to concentrations of the same protein measured in g/l, rather than mg/l).

The normal range for a POC microalbumin test result is typically 0 – 23 mg/l. You don’t mention what method you are using, but based on the information provided, I’m assuming that it measures in mg/l, and has a cut-off of 20. Therefore, a result reported as < 20 is a normal result.

However, if a urine test is performed on a random sample, results can vary depending on what point in the day the sample was taken (ie, results will vary depending on how concentrated or diluted the urine is when the sample is provided). While a normal POC microalbumin test result is still a reassurance, any concerns you have should always be addressed with your primary care physician or your urologist or any other specialist that is being consulted related to your kidney health.