Albumin supplementation in the critically ill. A prospective, randomized trial

Arch Surg. 1990 Jun;125(6):739-42. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410180063012.


Albumin replacement to correct hypoalbuminemia in critically ill patients has been controversial. This study was a prospective, randomized trial of 25% albumin administration in 40 hypoalbuminemic (serum albumin, less than 25 g/L [2.5 g/dL]), critically ill patients. The treatment group (18 patients) received 25% albumin supplementation to achieve and maintain serum albumin levels of 25 g/L (2.5 g/dL) or greater, while the nontreatment group (22 patients) received no concentrated albumin. There was no clinical benefit from albumin therapy when assessing mortality (39% vs 27%, treatment vs control) or major complication rate (89% vs 77% of patients). There were also no significant differences in length of hospital stay, intensive care unit stay, ventilator dependence, or tolerance of enteral feeding, despite significant elevations of albumin in the treatment group. The costly use of exogenous albumin as treatment for hypoalbuminemia in this patient population does not appear to be justified.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Albumins / administration & dosage
  • Albumins / therapeutic use*
  • Critical Care*
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoproteinemia / blood
  • Hypoproteinemia / mortality
  • Hypoproteinemia / therapy*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Albumins
  • Serum Albumin