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Objective: To determine the efficacy of supplemental 25% albumin in reducing morbidity and mortality rates in the surgical intensive care unit (ICU).

Design: Prospective, randomized, unblinded clinical study.

Setting: Surgical ICU in a community hospital.

Patients: Two hundred nineteen patients with admission circulating albumin concentrations of <3.0 g/dL (<30 g/L). The groups were well matched regarding age, sex, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores and initial circulating albumin concentrations.

Interventions: The treatment group (n = 116) received 37.5 g/day of albumin until the circulating albumin concentration increased to >3.0 g/dL (>30 g/L). The control group (n = 103) received no supplemental albumin. Both groups received standard nutritional support.

Measurements and Main Results: The complication rate was 44% in the albumin group vs. 36.9% in the controls (p = .29). The albumin patients had a mortality rate of 10.3% vs. 5.8% in the control group (p = .22). There were no significant differences between the groups in the number of days spent receiving mechanical ventilation or in the tolerance to tube feedings.

Conclusions: Routine supplemental administration of 25% albumin is expensive and offers no apparent outcome advantage and should be abandoned in the treatment of patients in the surgical ICU. (Crit Care Med 1994; 22:613-619)

(C) Williams & Wilkins 1994. All Rights Reserved.