Hypoalbuminemia is a frequent marker of increased mortality in cardiogenic shock

PLoS One. 2019 May 16;14(5):e0217006. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217006. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: The prevalence of hypoalbuminemia, early changes of plasma albumin (P-Alb) levels, and their effects on mortality in cardiogenic shock are unknown.

Materials and methods: P-Alb was measured from serial blood samples in 178 patients from a prospective multinational study on cardiogenic shock. The association of hypoalbuminemia with clinical characteristics and course of hospital stay including treatment and procedures was assessed. The primary outcome was all-cause 90-day mortality.

Results: Hypoalbuminemia (P-Alb < 34g/L) was very frequent (75%) at baseline in patients with cardiogenic shock. Patients with hypoalbuminemia had higher mortality than patients with normal albumin levels (48% vs. 23%, p = 0.004). Odds ratio for death at 90 days was 2.4 [95% CI 1.5-4.1] per 10 g/L decrease in baseline P-Alb. The association with increased mortality remained independent in regression models adjusted for clinical risk scores developed for cardiogenic shock (CardShock score adjusted odds ratio 2.0 [95% CI 1.1-3.8], IABP-SHOCK II score adjusted odds ratio 2.5 [95%CI 1.2-5.0]) and variables associated with hypoalbuminemia at baseline (adjusted odds ratio 2.9 [95%CI 1.2-7.1]). In serial measurements, albumin levels decreased at a similar rate between 0h and 72h in both survivors and nonsurvivors (ΔP-Alb -4.6 g/L vs. 5.4 g/L, p = 0.5). While the decrease was higher for patients with normal P-Alb at baseline (p<0.001 compared to patients with hypoalbuminemia at baseline), the rate of albumin decrease was not associated with outcome.

Conclusions: Hypoalbuminemia was a frequent finding early in cardiogenic shock, and P-Alb levels decreased during hospital stay. Low P-Alb at baseline was associated with mortality independently of other previously described risk factors. Thus, plasma albumin measurement should be part of the initial evaluation in patients with cardiogenic shock.

Trial registration: NCT01374867 at ClinicalTrials.gov.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypoalbuminemia / blood*
  • Hypoalbuminemia / complications
  • Hypoalbuminemia / mortality*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / blood*
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / complications
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / mortality*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01374867

Grant support

VPH was supported by the Aarne Koskelo Foundation (no grant number): http://www.aarnekoskelonsaatio.fi/, and the Finnish Cardiac Foundation (no grant number): https://www.fincardio.fi/. Laboratory kits were provided by Roche Diagnostics. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.