Rationale for albumin infusions

P.B. Soeters*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    11 Citations (Web of Science)


    PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: To describe the metabolism and function of albumin, and to scrutinize the evidence that infusion of albumin may be beneficial in disease. To explain why albumin infusion does not improve clinical outcome in most disease states, studied. RECENT FINDINGS: Albumin acts as a binding protein and an oncotic agent. However, albumin may also act as an extracellular scavenger, which leads to oxidation of albumin. It is likely that this compromises its function and it is possible that this drives its degradation. In disease, these useful processes are accelerated leading to rapid ageing of the molecule.Albumin infusion does not improve clinical outcome despite increasing oncotic pressure in chronic disease. It is not superior to nonprotein colloids or electrolyte solutions in acute hypovolemia with one or two exceptions (liver failure, possibly cerebral infarction). One potential explanation is that pharmaceutical albumin does not have the oxidative qualities that freshly synthesized albumin has. SUMMARY: Albumin infusion has not proven to achieve clinical benefit in many acute and chronic disease states with a few exceptions in acute hypovolemia (e.g. postparacentesis). Future studies should reveal whether infusion of freshly synthesized nonoxidized albumin is of greater clinical benefit.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)258-264
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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