Role of Albumin Treatment in Patients With Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

Maria Poca, Mar Concepción, Meritxell Casas, Cristina Álvarez-Urturi, Jordi Gordillo, Virginia Hernández-Gea, Eva Román, Carlos Guarner-Argente, Ignasi Gich, German Soriano, Carlos Guarner

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Background & Aims: Intravenous administration of albumin decreases the incidence of renal failure and mortality among patients with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP). However, it is unclear whether it should be given to all patients with SBP; we evaluated its efficacy. Methods: We analyzed data from all episodes of SBP (n = 216) during a 7-year period that occurred in a nonselected series of 167 patients with cirrhosis. Low-risk episodes (urea <11 mmol/L and bilirubin <68 μmol/L) were not treated with albumin, whereas high-risk episodes (urea >11 mmol/L and/or bilirubin >68 μmol/L) were or were not given albumin at the discretion of the attending physician. Results: Sixty-four episodes of SBP (29.6%) were low risk and not treated with albumin, whereas 152 (70.4%) were high risk; 73 of these (48%) were treated with albumin and 79 (52%) were not. Renal failure before SBP resolution was less frequent after low-risk episodes than high-risk episodes (4.7% versus 25.6%; P = .001), in-hospital mortality was lower (3.1% versus 38.2%; P < .001), and the 3-month probability of survival was higher (93% versus 53%; P < .001). In an analysis of only the high-risk group, patients who received albumin had lower in-hospital mortality than those not treated with albumin (28.8% versus 46.8%; P = .02) and a greater 3-month probability of survival (62% versus 45%; P = .01). Conclusions: Albumin therapy increases survival of patients who have high-risk episodes of SBP, although it does not seem to be necessary for patients with low risk of death. © 2012 AGA Institute.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-315
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Infection
  • Outcome Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Insufficiency


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