Your doctor may order this test to help diagnose tumors, infection, inflammation of several groups of nerve cells, vasculitis, blood in the spinal fluid, or injury.
The normal protein range varies from lab to lab, but is typically about 15 to 60 mg/dL.
Note: mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What abnormal results mean
An abnormal protein level in the CSF suggests that there is an abnormal process occurring in the central nervous system.
When the protein level increases, it may be a sign of a tumor, bleeding, nerve inflammation, or injury. Protein can rapidly build up in the lower spinal area where the lumbar puncture is done, if something is blocking the flow of spinal fluid.
When the protein level in decreases, it can mean your body is rapidly producing spinal fluid.
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
Kevin Sheth, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine;David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.