Albumin Administration is Efficacious in the Management of Patients with Cirrhosis: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Hepatic medicine : evidence and research. 2020;12:153-172
The use of albumin in patients with cirrhosis has been extensively discussed over recent years. Current treatment approaches depend on targeting related complications, aiming to treat and/or prevent circulatory dysfunction, bacterial infections and multi-organ failure. Albumin has been shown to prolong survival and reduce complications in patients with cirrhosis. This review aims to ascertain whether the use of albumin is justified in patients with cirrhosis. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses evaluating albumin use in patients with cirrhosis published between 1985 and February 2020 was conducted; the quality and risk of bias of the included studies were assessed. In total, 45 RCTs and 10 meta-analyses were included. Based on the included evidence, albumin is superior at preventing and controlling the incidence of cirrhosis complications vs other plasma expanders. Recent studies reported that long-term albumin administration to patients with decompensated cirrhosis improves survival with a 38% reduction in the mortality hazard ratio compared with standard medical treatment alone. Albumin infusions are justified for routine use in patients with cirrhosis, and the use of albumin either alone or in combination with other treatments leads to clinical benefits. Long-term administration of albumin should be considered in some patients.
Albumin infusion may decrease the incidence and severity of overt hepatic encephalopathy in liver cirrhosis
BACKGROUND The role of human albumin infusion for the prevention and treatment of overt hepatic encephalopathy (HE) in liver cirrhosis remains unclear. RESULTS Among the 708 patients without pre-existing overt HE, albumin infusion significantly decreased the incidence of overt HE (4.20% versus 12.70%, P<0.001) and in-hospital mortality (1.70% versus 5.40%, P=0.008). Among the 182 patients with overt HE at admission or during hospitalization, albumin infusion significantly improved overt HE (84.60% versus 68.10%, P=0.009) and decreased in-hospital mortality (7.70% versus 19.80%, P=0.018). Meta-analysis of 6 studies found that albumin infusion might decrease the risk of overt HE (OR=1.63, P=0.07), but the difference was not statistically significant. Meta-analysis of 3 studies found that albumin infusion significantly improved overt HE (OR=2.40, P=0.04). CONCLUSIONS Based on the results of our retrospective study and meta-analysis, albumin infusion might prevent from the occurrence of overt HE and improve the severity of overt HE in cirrhosis. Our retrospective study also suggested that albumin infusion improved the outcomes of cirrhotic patients regardless of overt HE. METHODS Cirrhotic patients consecutively admitted between January 2010 and June 2014 were considered in a retrospective study. A 1:1 propensity score matching analysis was performed. Additionally, publications regarding albumin infusion for the management of overt HE were systematically searched. Meta-analyses were performed by random-effect model. Odds ratio (OR) was calculated.