Albumin versus other fluids for fluid resuscitation in patients with sepsis: a meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 4;9(12):e114666. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114666. eCollection 2014.


Background: Early fluid resuscitation is vital to patients with sepsis. However, the choice of fluid has been a hot topic of discussion. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the use of albumin-containing fluids for resuscitation in patients with sepsis was associated with a decreased mortality rate.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane library for eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) up to March 2014. The selection of eligible studies, assessment of methodological quality, and extraction of all relevant data were conducted by two authors independently.

Results: In total, 15 RCTs were eligible for analysis. After pooling the data, we found there was no significant effect of albumin-containing fluids on mortality in patients with sepsis of any severity (RR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.87, 1.02 and RD: -0.01, 95% CI: -0.03, 0.01). The results were robust to subgroup analyses, sensitivity analyses and trial sequential analyses.

Conclusion: The present meta-analysis did not demonstrate significant advantage of using albumin-containing fluids for resuscitation in patients with sepsis of any severity. Given the cost-effectiveness of using albumin, crystalloids should be the first choice for fluid resuscitation in septic patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Rehydration Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Resuscitation / methods
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Sepsis / therapy*
  • Serum Albumin / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Rehydration Solutions
  • Serum Albumin

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.