Human albumin, produced in the liver, is an essential protein found in human plasma and accounts for about 50%-60% of plasma proteins.1 The primary functions of albumin are to maintain intravascular oncotic pressure, serve as a free radical scavenger and to facilitate transportation of substances such as fatty acids, hormones, bile salt, bilirubin, metals, and therapeutic drugs.1
When plasma volume is drastically reduced, serum albumin supplementation can help restore the losses. The key indication of albumin is the restoration and maintenance of circulating blood volume in situations such as trauma, surgery, blood loss, hypoalbuminemia, and burn management.2
Human albumin was first purified for clinical use by Dr. E. Cohn in the 1940’s.3 The first formally documented clinical use of human albumin was in the resuscitation of seven patients that suffered burns in the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.4-6 All seven patients survived after the albumin treatment.5,6
Following this initial success, albumin became the first protein available at industrial scale. In these initial years, albumin mainly facilitated the treatment of World War II shock victims. Since then, emergency physicians and first responders have come to rely on human albumin as a vital tool in response to trauma, burns and shock in many critical care situations.5 In 2013, the volume of albumin sold for medical use was approximately 150 tons in the U.S.5
Please refer to the Portfolio page to see a list of albumin products available by Shire.
1. Boldt. Use of albumin: an update. Br J Anaesth. 2010; 104: 276-84. 2. FLEXBUMIN 25% [Albumin (Human)], USP, 25% Solution [package insert]. Westlake Village, CA: Baxter Healthcare Corporation. August 2013. 3. Cohn EJ, Oncley JL, Strong LE et al. Chemical, clinical, and immunological studies on the products of human plasma fractionation. I. The characterization of the protein fractions of human plasma. J Clin Invest. 1944; 23: 417-432. 4. Myburgh JA and Mrythen MG. Resuscitation fluids. N Engl J Med. 2013; 369: 2462-2463. 5. The Marketing Research Bureau. The Plasma Proteins Market In The United States 2013. July 2014. 6. Kendrick DB, Medical Department United States Army. Blood program in World War II. http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/blood/chapter12.htm. Accessed October 20, 2014.