• albumin;
  • ascites;
  • cirrhosis;
  • complications;
  • cost analysis;
  • plasma expander

Abstract: Background: The question of which colloid (albumin or synthetic colloids) used for plasma expansion following paracentesis or other complications requiring fluid loading in patients with cirrhosis remains controversial.

Aims: To compare outcome and hospital-related cost in patients with cirrhosis treated with 20% human albumin with those treated with a synthetic colloid (3.5% polygeline).

Methods: The primary end point was occurrence of a first liver-related complication.

Results: When the trial was prematurely discontinued because of safety concerns about bovine-derived products, 30 patients were assigned to receive albumin and 38 were assigned to receive a synthetic colloid. Sixty-three patients were included for ascites removal by paracentesis and five patients for ascites removal by paracentesis and renal impairment. The median time to first liver-related complication was not significantly longer in the albumin group (20 vs. 7 days). However, the total number of liver-related complications adjusted to a 100-day period was significantly lower in the albumin group. The median hospital cost for a 30-day period was significantly lower in the albumin group (1915 euros vs. 4612 euros).

Conclusions: In patients with cirrhosis and ascites, human albumin appears to be more effective in preventing liver-related complications than synthetic colloid. This may be associated with decreased hospital costs.