Background. Studies have suggested that albumin has a value in cirrhotic patients undergoing paracentesis but its value in infection and sepsis is less clear. We planned to perform a meta-analysis of the risk of adverse outcomes in cirrhotic patients with and without albumin use.
Methods. We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE in January 2013 for randomized studies of cirrhotic patients that reported the risk of adverse events and mortality with albumin and no albumin exposure. We performed random effects meta-analysis and assessed heterogeneity using the I2 statistic.
Results. Our review included 16 studies covering 1,518 patients. The use of albumin in paracentesis was associated with significantly reduced risk of paracentesis-induced circulatory dysfunction (OR 0.26 95%, CI 0.08–0.93) and there was a nonsignificant difference in death, encephalopathy, hyponatraemia, readmission, and renal impairment. Compared to the other volume expanders, albumin use showed no difference in clinical outcomes. In cirrhotic patients with any infection, there was a significant reduction in mortality (OR 0.46 95%, CI 0.25–0.86) and renal impairment (OR 0.34 95%, CI 0.15–0.75) when albumin was used.
Conclusion. The use of albumin in cirrhotic patients is valuable in patients with any infection and it reduces the risk of circulatory dysfunction among patients undergoing paracentesis.