Is the use of albumin of value in cirrhosis? The case not so in favour, or is there an alternative?

Burroughs AK.
Dig Liver Dis. 2003 Sep;35(9):664-7.
Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Medicine, The Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK.

A decreased effective arterial blood volume is the principal haemodynamic disturbance in cirrhosis, leading to activation of the renin angiotensin aldosterone and the sympathetic nervous systems, sodium and water retention and renal impairment. Albumin is a plasma expander that could be used in clinical settings in cirrhosis in which plasma expansion would reverse some of the decreased effective arterial blood volume, or prevent its iatrogenic (i.e., paracenteses) or spontaneous worsening (spontaneous bacterial peritonitis). However, apart from the issue of transmission of prion agents, which may become an important issue in clinical risk management of the use of albumin in the future, the problem with albumin is its expense. Every effort must thus be made to definitely prove albumin is always the best colloid for all clinical settings in cirrhosis. Further randomized trials are justified.


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