Fluid replacement (or volume therapy) is needed by patients with hypovolemia (decreased blood volume) to maintain sufficient tissue perfusion and oxygenation. It can be accomplished with both crystalloids and colloids.
Colloids, however, are more efficient volume expanders and can be helpful in avoiding tissue edema caused by crystalloids. Although crystalloid and synthetic colloid (hydroxyethyl starch, dextran, modified gelatin) solutions can be used as plasma substitutes, human albumin as a natural protein of human blood plasma has proven preferable to synthetic colloids in many clinical situations.
Synthesized and secreted by the liver, albumin is used to stabilize blood pressure in shock or sepsis patients who might also be albumin-deficient. Albumin is also used to treat burn patients, augment fluid replacement therapy in cardiac surgery, and treat certain liver disorders.
Known as the most common protein found in human blood plasma and human blood serum, albumin accounts for about 60% of all plasma proteins and is primarily responsible for 75%-80% of plasma's normal colloid oncotic pressure.
Albumin serves other important functions as well — acting as a transport protein (different hormones, fatty acids, bilirubin, certain drugs), free radical scavenger, or biological buffer.
Albumin deficiency or low albumin levels (also known as hypo-albuminemia) is a condition mainly caused by reduced synthesis (liver cirrhosis), increased kidney excretion (nephrotic syndrome), excessive loss (protein-losing enteropathy or in burn patients), and acute disease states. Hypo-albuminemia generally correlates with increased morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients.
Indications & Uses for Albumin
CSL Behring’s human albumin solutions are used to restore and maintain the circulating blood volume, to reach normal physiological albumin blood/plasma concentrations, or to supplement missing or reduced albumin properties.
Albumin is used for volume replacement and as a plasma expander (for example, in cardiopulmonary bypass surgery), or in burn patients, patients with liver cirrhosis, or critically ill patients (for example patients with sepsis).
It is also used in different states of hypo-albuminemia with and without edema — for instance, to treat critically ill patients, liver diseases (such as ascites or hepato renal syndrome), and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Albumin might also be used in the emergency treatment of shock and in similar conditions where blood volume must be urgently restored.
CSL Behring’s biotherapeutic albumin products include sterile solutions of pasteurized highly purified human albumin from human plasma to supplement albumin.
Albumin solution is derived from human blood and has an excellent safety profile. Albumin is heated in aqueous solution for 10 hours at 60°C, and the risk of virus transmission is further reduced through effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes. However, the risk of transmission of infectious agents, including viruses and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent, cannot be completely eliminated. To date, no cases of transmission of viral diseases or CJD have been identified with albumin.