Joana R. Carvalho, Mariana Verdelho Machado
Decompensated liver cirrhosis has a dismal prognosis, with an overall survival of 2-4 years, which is worse than for many oncological diseases. Albumin is an important tool in the management of patients with cirrhosis, since it decreases for less than half the risk for post-paracentesis cardiocirculatory dysfunction and mortality associated with spontaneous bacterial infection, as well as, it triplicates the response to terlipressin in patients with hepatorenal syndrome. Recently, research on albumin has been a hot topic, with important new insights such as the characterization of the pleiotropic effects of albumin (which surpass its oncotic properties) and the concept of effective albumin concentration. In fact, patients with liver cirrhosis present posttranslational modifications on albumin that compromises its function. Those modified albumin forms were proved to have prognostic value and its knowledge may change the paradigm of albumin treatment. In this review, we critically summarize the latest evidence on the potential benefits of albumin in patients with end-stage liver disease.
Key words. Liver cirrhosis, Liver cirrhosis, Effective albumin concentration, Posttranslational changes