Debate: Albumin administration should be avoided in the critically ill

Crit Care. 2000;4(3):151-5. doi: 10.1186/cc688.


The benefit of albumin administration in the critically ill patient is unproven. Epidemiological evidence suggests that there is an increase in death among patients with burns, hypoalbuminaemia, and hypotension treated with human albumin solution (HAS). In critical illness, hypoalbuminaemia is a result of transcapillary leak, decreased synthesis, large volume body fluid losses, and dilution caused by fluid resuscitation. When treating patients with hypoalbuminaemia, efforts must be centred around correction of the underlying disorder rather than reversal of hypoalbuminaemia. Problems with using albumin arise because it is an expensive blood product, and can result in systemic changes that include cardiovascular, haematological, renal, pulmonary, and immunological effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins* / adverse effects
  • Albumins* / deficiency
  • Albumins* / economics
  • Albumins* / pharmacokinetics
  • Critical Illness / mortality
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Patient Selection*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Albumins