Intraoperative administration of crystalloid for plasma volume expansion may be reduced by use of hyperoncotic albumin. However, the degree of plasma volume expansion with administration of 20% albumin is poorly quantitated. We estimated the amount of volume expansion attributable to 20% albumin administration in patients undergoing surgery for more than 5 hours.
Twenty percent albumin was delivered at 3 mL/kg by intravenous infusion during 30 minutes to 15 patients (mean ± standard deviation [SD] age; 46 ± 15 years) undergoing surgery. Blood samples and urine were collected for 5 hours. Mass balance calculations and volume kinetics were used to estimate plasma volume expansion and capillary leakage of albumin and fluid.
Administration of 20% albumin was associated with an increase in plasma volume amounting to 1.7 times the infused volume. After correction for hemorrhage, the median (and 25th to 75th percentiles) intravascular half-life for the administered albumin mass was 20.4 (14.2–34.7) hours. The plasma volume decreased with a half-life of 21.7 (16.1–26.8) hours. Urinary excretion was 3 times greater than the infused volume of albumin, but kinetic analysis suggested that other flows of fluid to and from the plasma occurred more slowly than previously found in volunteers. Hemodynamic support with norepinephrine increased urinary excretion and contracted the plasma volume.
Albumin (20%) increased the plasma volume by 1.7 times the infused volume. Our results do not support that the transcapillary leakage of albumin is accelerated by anesthesia and surgery.