Post-operative albumin loss

Albumin Loss After Surgery: What You Should Know

Post-operative albumin loss occurs when surgery causes the body to lose more albumin than usual. Albumin is a protein in the blood and its loss leads to an increased risk of serious complications. To reduce the risk of post-operative albumin loss, it is important to understand how and why it occurs, and to take steps to prevent it from happening.

What is Albumin?

Albumin is a protein found in the blood and is an important component of a healthy immune system. It helps maintain normal levels of fluids and electrolytes in our bodies, and helps our bodies process fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Albumin is also used to transport waste products and molecules, and helps to keep our blood from becoming too thick. A normal adult has between 3 and 5 g/dL of albumin in their blood.

Why is Post-operative Albumin Loss Dangerous?

Post-operative albumin loss is dangerous because it increases the risk of developing infections, kidney damage, and even heart failure. When there is an insufficient amount of albumin in the blood, fluids and electrolytes can’t be smoothly balanced. This can lead to additional complications from surgery that can be life-threatening.

What Causes Post-operative Albumin Loss?

Post-operative albumin loss most often occurs when the body sustains a metabolic stress, such as a large surgical procedure or a long hospital stay. During the procedure, the body releases certain hormones that cause it to break down proteins, including albumin, in order to access energy stores and compensate for the metabolic stress. It is common for patients to experience a decrease in albumin levels after major surgeries, and this loss can be significant.

How Can Post-operative Albumin Loss Be Prevented?

To reduce the risk of post-operative albumin loss, patients should be aware of the risk factors and can take steps to reduce these risks before and after surgery. Risk factors include:

  • Age: Elderly patients are more likely to experience post-operative albumin loss.
  • Nutritional status: Nutrition before and after surgery is key to preventing albumin loss.
  • Surgical type: High-risk surgeries (e.g. cardiac and transplant surgeries) are associated with a greater risk of post-operative albumin loss.
  • Length of stay: Patients with a prolonged hospital stay are more likely to suffer from post-operative albumin loss.
  • Infection: Patients with an infection are at greater risk of post-operative albumin loss.

In order to reduce the risk of post-operative albumin loss, it is important to understand these risk factors and take steps to reduce them. Doctors can advise patients on the steps they can take to reduce the risk of post-operative albumin loss. This includes eating a balanced diet, taking part in regular physical activity, and reducing or avoiding the use of certain medications that interfere with albumin production.