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Hypoalbuminaemia results in oedema and effects secondary to the decreased transport of specific molecules, e.g. calcium.


  • analbuminaemia - rare; plasma albumin usually less than 1.0 g/l. Often asymptomatic due to compensatory increases in plasma globulins.

Reduced synthesis:

  • liver disease - usually only in chronic disease as:
    • large hepatic reserve
    • long half-life of albumin - 20 days
  • severe malnutrition

Increased catabolism:

  • following trauma, surgery
  • infection
  • malignancy

Increased losses:

  • renal - proteinuria, especially the nephrotic syndrome
  • skin - exfoliative dermatitis; severe burns
  • gastrointestinal tract:
    • haemorrhage
    • protein losing enteropathies

Altered distribution:

  • serous effusion, e.g. ascites
  • overhydration

Last reviewed 03/2022