Background: Better knowledge of albumin kinetics is needed to define the indications for albumin use in clinical practice. This study involved two approaches: the synthesis rate and transcapillary escape rate of albumin were measured simultaneously at different levels of plasma albumin concentration in relation to acute inflammation and surgery; and two different tracers were compared to determine plasma volume and the transcapillary escape rate.
Methods: Healthy volunteers (n = 10), patients with acute inflammatory abdominal disease (n = 10), and patients undergoing elective pancreatic resection (n = 10) were studied. The albumin synthesis rate was measured by the incorporation of deuterium-labeled phenylalanine. Plasma volume and the transcapillary escape rate were assessed using 123I-labeled and 125I-labeled albumin.
Results: A 50 % elevated de-novo albumin synthesis rate was seen in patients with acute inflammation and marked hypoalbuminemia, while patients with marginal hypoalbuminemia before the start of surgery had a normal albumin synthesis rate. The transcapillary escape rate was elevated intraoperatively during the reconstructive phase of pancreatic surgery, when plasma albumin was decreased but stable. In acute inflammation with marked hypoalbuminemia, the transcapillary escape rate was no different from normal. 123I-labeled and 125I-labeled albumin were found exchangeable for plasma volume determinations, but could be used only in groups of patients for the transcapillary escape rate.
Conclusions: This observational study illustrates the limited information contained in albumin plasma concentrations to reflect albumin kinetics. On the contrary, single measurements of the synthesis rate and/or transcapillary escape rate of albumin obviously cannot explain the plasma level of albumin or the changes seen in plasma albumin concentration.
Trial registration: www.clinicaltrials.gov , study number NCT01686776 . Registered 13 September 2012.
Keywords: Albumin kinetics; Capillary leakage; Hypoalbuminemia.