Other Indications

Albumin therapy in clinical practice.

Mendez CM, McClain CJ, Marsano LS.
Nutr Clin Pract. 2005 Jun;20(3):314-20

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Louisville Medical Center, 550 S. Jackson St., ACB 3rd Floor, Louisville, KY 40292. cmmend01@gwise.louisville.edu.

Albumin is the predominant product of hepatic protein synthesis and one of the more abundant plasma proteins. Among its multiple physiologic roles, it plays an essential part in the generation of colloid-oncotic pressure. In the United States, the indications for which albumin therapy are considered include hypovolemia or shock, burns, hypoalbuminemia, surgery or trauma, cardiopulmonary bypass, acute respiratory distress syndrome, hemodialysis, and sequestration of protein-rich fluids.

The use of this relatively expensive therapy accounts for up to 30% of the total pharmacy budget in certain hospitals. The use of albumin therapy in different clinical situations and its influence in morbidity and mortality have been reviewed in multiple randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses. Despite frequent reviews, the use of albumin remains controversial in several clinical situations. At the same time, these valuable reviews seem to have documented the advantages of albumin therapy in the management of ascites and clarified the use of albumin in volume resuscitation. More studies have been recommended to investigate the use of albumin in different doses and its role in hypoalbuminemia. This article will provide an overview of albumin metabolism, use of albumin for volume expansion, the potential therapeutic role of albumin in liver disease, and the role of albumin therapy in nutrition.