The role of albumin in human physiology and pathophysiology, Part III: Albumin and disease states.


Doweiko JP, Nompleggi DJ.




JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr


The serum albumin level is one of several clinical parameters of the status of general health. There is a marked correlation between low albumin levels and the incidence of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that hypoalbuminemia is a common finding among hospitalized patients. This results from alterations in the catabolic or anabolic rates, losses of albumin, or redistribution between the various fluid compartments of the body. Somewhat less well defined than the role of albumin as a prognostic indicator is its role in compounding pathophysiology. Hypoalbuminemia is known to be associated with delayed wound healing. The hypoalbuminemic state interferes with the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Qualitative changes in the albumin molecule which occur in renal disease may damage the nephron. Low serum albumin levels may adversely affect the coagulation system. Further investigation into the role of albumin in pathophysiology is warranted.