Association between albumin administration and survival in cardiac surgery: a retrospective cohort study

Can J Anaesth. 2018 Nov;65(11):1218-1227. doi: 10.1007/s12630-018-1181-4. Epub 2018 Jul 13.


Purpose: Albumin is widely used during and after on-pump cardiac surgery, although it is unclear whether this therapy improves clinical outcomes.

Methods: This observational study utilized the Cerner Health Facts® database (a large HIPAA-compliant clinical-administrative database maintained by Cerner Inc., USA) to identify a cohort of 6,188 adults that underwent on-pump cardiac surgery for valve and/or coronary artery procedures between January 2001 and March 2013. Of these, 1,095 patients who received 5% albumin with crystalloid solutions and 1,095 patients who received crystalloids alone on the day of or the day following cardiac surgery were selected by propensity-score matching. The primary outcome was all-cause in-hospital mortality. Three secondary outcomes analyzed include acute kidney injury severity, major morbidity composite, and all-cause 30-day readmissions.

Results: In the propensity-score matched cohort, receipt of perioperative 5% albumin was associated with decreased risk of in-hospital mortality (odds ratio [OR], 0.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.3 to 0.9; P = 0.02) and lower all-cause 30-day readmission rates (OR, 0.7; 98.3% CI, 0.5 to 0.9; P < 0.01). Albumin therapy was not associated with differences in overall major morbidity (OR, 0.9; 98.3% CI, 0.7 to 1.2; P = 0.39; composite) or acute kidney injury severity (OR, 0.9; 98.3% CI, 0.6 to 1.4; P = 0.53) compared with therapy with crystalloid solutions.

Conclusions: In this large retrospective study, use of 5% albumin solution was associated with significantly decreased odds of in-hospital mortality and all-cause 30-day readmission rate compared with administration of crystalloids alone in adult patients undergoing on-pump cardiac surgery. These results warrant further studies to examine fluid receipt, including 5% albumin, in surgical populations via randomized-controlled trials.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology
  • Aged
  • Albumins / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Crystalloid Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Albumins
  • Crystalloid Solutions