Low levels of serum albumin may increase the risk of infections and mortality in critically ill patients. We tested the hypothesis that admission hypoalbuminemia predicted infectious complications and poor outcome in subjects with acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). We analyzed a single center cohort of ICH patients collected between 1994 and 2015. Pneumonia, urinary tract infection and sepsis were retrospectively identified, according to validated criteria. Serum albumin was measured on admission and hypoalbuminemia was defined as total albumin ≤3.5 g/dL. The association between albumin levels, infections, and mortality at 90 days was tested with multivariable logistic regression analyses. A total of 2010 patients were included (median age 74 years, 54.5% males) of whom 444 (22.1%) had hypoalbuminemia on admission and 763 (38%) died within 90 days. The frequency of pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and sepsis was 19.9, 15.1, and 2.7%, respectively. Hypoalbuminemic patients had lower admission Glasgow coma scale, higher frequency of intraventricular hemorrhage and were more likely to have a history of chronic kidney or liver disease. After adjustment for potential confounders, hypoalbuminemia was an independent predictor of pneumonia [odds ratio (OR) 1.76, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34–2.33, p < 0.001] and sepsis (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.22–4.30, p = 0.010). Low levels of albumin were also independently associated with higher mortality at 90 days (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30–2.44, p < 0.001). In conclusion, early hypoalbuminemia is common and predicts poor outcome in ICH patients. Increased susceptibility to pneumonia and sepsis may be the pathophysiological mechanism underlying this association.
Stroke Intracerebral hemorrhage Albumin Pneumonia Sepsis Outcome
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Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
Joshua N. Goldstein reports research funding from Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Portola; Advisory Board for Prolong Pharmaceuticals.
This study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.
Sources of funding
This study was supported by the following awards from the NINDS: 5R01NS073344, K23AG02872605, K23 NS086873, and R01NS059727. None of the funding entities had any involvement in study design; data collection, analysis, and interpretation; writing of the manuscript; or decision to submit the study for publication.
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