Abstract

Background: The role of human albumin infusion for the prevention and treatment of overt hepatic encephalopathy (HE) in liver cirrhosis remains unclear. Results: Among the 708 patients without pre-existing overt HE, albumin infusion significantly decreased the incidence of overt HE (4.20% versus 12.70%, P<0.001) and in-hospital mortality (1.70% versus 5.40%, P=0.008). Among the 182 patients with overt HE at admission or during hospitalization, albumin infusion significantly improved overt HE (84.60% versus 68.10%, P=0.009) and decreased in-hospital mortality (7.70% versus 19.80%, P=0.018). Meta-analysis of 6 studies found that albumin infusion might decrease the risk of overt HE (OR=1.63, P=0.07), but the difference was not statistically significant. Meta-analysis of 3 studies found that albumin infusion significantly improved overt HE (OR=2.40, P=0.04). Conclusions: Based on the results of our retrospective study and meta-analysis, albumin infusion might prevent from the occurrence of overt HE and improve the severity of overt HE in cirrhosis. Our retrospective study also suggested that albumin infusion improved the outcomes of cirrhotic patients regardless of overt HE. Methods: Cirrhotic patients consecutively admitted between January 2010 and June 2014 were considered in a retrospective study. A 1:1 propensity score matching analysis was performed. Additionally, publications regarding albumin infusion for the management of overt HE were systematically searched. Meta-analyses were performed by random-effect model. Odds ratio (OR) was calculated.