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Background: Hypoalbuminemia is associated with fluid overload, the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, and mortality. The co-administration of albumin and diuretics for the treatment of patients with hypoalbuminemia is expected to increase urine output, without hemodynamic instability, and improve pulmonary function; however, these effects have not been systematically investigated. Here, we aimed to clarify the benefits of the co-administration of albumin and diuretics in mechanically ventilated patients.

Methods: We searched for randomized, placebo-controlled trials that investigated the effects of the co-administration of albumin and diuretics compared with placebo and diuretics, in mechanically ventilated patients with hypoalbuminemia. We searched these trials in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE via PubMed, and EMBASE databases. Primary outcomes were hypotensive events after the intervention, all-cause mortality, and the length of mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcomes were improvement in the ratio of partial pressure arterial oxygen and fraction of inspired oxygen (P/F ratio) at 24 hours, total urine output (mL/d), and the clinical requirement of renal replacement therapy (RRT).

Results: From the 1574 records identified, we selected 3 studies for quantitative analysis. The results of albumin administration were as follows: hypotensive events (risk ratio [RR] 0.33 [95% CI: 0.15 -0.81]), all-cause mortality (RR 1.0 [95% CI: 0.45-2.23]), the length of mechanical ventilation in days (mean difference -0.34 [95% CI: -1.99 to 1.31]), and improvement in P/F ratio (RR 2.83 [95% CI: 1.42-5.67]). None of the randomized controlled trials reported the total urine output, and one reported that no participants required RRT. Adverse events were not reported during the trials. The certainty of evidence was low (in the hypotensive events after the intervention and all-cause mortality) to moderate (in the length of mechanical ventilation in days, improvement of P/F ratio, clinical requirement of RRT, and adverse events).

Conclusions: Although this treatment combination reduced the number of days for which mechanical ventilation was required, it did not reduce the all-cause mortality at 30 days. In conclusion, the co-administration of albumin and diuretics may reduce hypotensive events and improve the P/F ratio at 24 hours.

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