Albumin Supplementation for Hypoalbuminemia Following Burns
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Following fluid resuscitation, patients with major burns frequently develop prolonged hypoalbuminemia. It is not known whether this should be corrected by albumin supplementation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are any benefits associated with albumin supplementation to correct hypoalbuminemia in burned adults. We conducted a retrospective comparison of patients with burns ≥ 20% TBSA admitted to an adult regional American Burn Association-verified burn center, from May 1, 2009, to September 30, 2010, where we did not routinely supplement albumin (control group), with patients admitted from October 1, 2010, to May 30, 2011, where we had instituted a protocol in which 5% human albumin was provided to maintain serum albumin levels >20 g/L (albumin group). Comparisons were made from postburn (PB) day 2 to day 30 inclusive. There were no significant differences between control (n = 26) and albumin (n = 17) in age (48 ± 15 vs 45 ± 21 years; P = .56), burn size (33 ± 13 vs 34 ± 13 %TBSA; P = .831), or full thickness burn size (19 ± 19 vs 23 ± 19 %TBSA; P = .581). Inhalation injury was significantly more frequent in the albumin group than in controls (71% vs 31%; P = .01). The groups did not differ significantly in need for admission escharotomy, admission Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, number of surgical procedures/first 30 days, or 24 and 48 hours fluid resuscitation volume requirements. The overall mean daily serum albumin level from PB day 2 to 30 in the albumin group (26.9 ± 3.0 g/L) was significantly greater than in controls (21.9 ± 4.4 g/L; P < .001). There were no significant differences between the groups in daily SOFA score/first 30 days, peak SOFA score, ΔSOFA, hospital length of stay, time to wound healing, duration of mechanical ventilation, or 30-day and in-hospital mortality. The cost of routinely supplementing 5% albumin between PB day 2 to 30 in the albumin group was more than four times that for the controls where we did not routinely provide albumin (Can $65.50 vs Can $16.57 per patient per day). We conclude that routine supplementation of 5% human albumin to maintain a serum albumin level ≥ 20 g/L in burn patients is expensive and provides no benefit.
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