Cohort Study of Albumin versus Lactated Ringer's for Postoperative Cardiac Surgery Fluid Resuscitation in the Intensive Care Unit

Ryan J. Fink, Andrew Young, N. David Yanez, Marissa Hom, Jennifer Mai, Miriam Treggiari, Matthias Merkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: A new postcardiac surgery fluid resuscitation strategy was implemented in our cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) to implement evidence-based practice. We transitioned from a primarily albumin fluid–based strategy to a lactated Ringer's fluid–based strategy. We sought to determine whether a new postoperative fluid resuscitation strategy significantly altered the fluid composition for postcardiac surgery patients and what effect that would have on fluid resuscitation costs. Secondary outcomes included various clinical parameters. Methods: This was a retrospective, before-and-after cohort study of postcardiac surgery patients in an academic quaternary care intensive care unit (ICU) during two different 3-month time intervals. A total of 192 patients were studied: 108 pre-intervention and 84 post intervention. The intervention consisted of surveying stakeholders regarding potential concerns of reducing albumin use, an educational intervention addressing those concerns, and removing albumin from the routine postcardiac surgery ICU admission order set. Results: In the post intervention time period, albumin use decreased significantly compared to pre-invention (p<0.01), and lactated Ringer's volume increased significantly (p<0.01). However, total volume administered for resuscitation was not significantly different pre- and post intervention (1129 ml vs. 1369 ml, p=0.136). There were a net-cost savings between the pre-intervention and post intervention period (3 mo) of $30,549.20, with the albumin reduction accounting for most of those savings. Secondary outcomes were not significantly different between groups. Conclusions: An albumin fluid reduction strategy was successful in reducing the amount of albumin fluid used for postcardiac surgery patients and resulted in substantial cost savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1249
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • albumin
  • cardiac surgery
  • cost reduction
  • crystalloid
  • lactated Ringer's

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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