Improving appropriate use of intravenous albumin: results of a single-centre audit and multifaceted intervention Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BackgroundIntravenous albumin has limited indications supported by randomised controlled trials, yet it is often prescribed for indications not supported by evidence.AimTo reduce unnecessary transfusion of albumin.InterventionsUnder the leadership of a multidisciplinary quality improvement team, evidence-based recommendations were disseminated in tandem with a new electronic order set, an educational strategy, qualitative interviews with prescribers and a return policy change to reduce wastage.Implementation and evaluationInterventions were introduced in a staggered fashion. The primary outcome, appropriate use of albumin, was monitored and quantified using pre-intervention and post-intervention audits. Process measures included statistical process run charts of monthly usage of 5% and 25% albumin and wastage. Data on length of stay (hospital and intensive care), new inpatient starts on kidney replacement and mortality were collected as balancing measures.ResultsAppropriate albumin usage based on indication increased from 30% to 50% (p<0.0001). There was significantly less overall albumin usage in the post-intervention period compared with the pre-intervention period (negative coefficient, p<0.0001), driven by a major reduction in the utilisation of the 5% formulation (p<0.0001). Overall albumin usage was significantly lower in the post-intervention period, decreasing from 800 to 450 vials per month. The intervention resulted in significantly less wastage (negative coefficient, p=0.017). Mortality, length of stay and new starts on kidney replacement therapy remained constant throughout the study period.ConclusionImproved prescribing of albumin was achieved with a multifaceted approach. Substantial and sustained reductions in usage were achieved without negatively impacting patient-important outcomes. The estimated annual savings for the purchase cost of albumin was CAN $300‚ÄČ000. We provide a structured process for other organisations to optimise their use of albumin.


  • Forster, Corey M
  • Halls, Shannon
  • Allarakhia, Sabrina
  • Modi, Dimpy
  • Chung, Wiley
  • Derry, Kendra
  • Digby, Genevieve
  • Flemming, Jennifer
  • McGugan, John
  • Mackulin, Heather
  • Montague, Steven
  • Sibley, Stephanie
  • Silver, Samuel A
  • Sirosky-Yanyk, Angela
  • Stevens, Andrew
  • de Wit, Kerstin
  • Zhang, Liying
  • Callum, Jeannie

publication date

  • April 2024