Background and aims: Although both serum albumin and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are separately recognized as predictors of adverse outcomes in many illnesses, the predictive value of their combination for adverse outcomes has not been evaluated. We therefore sought to examine the prognostic value of serum albumin for in-hospital mortality in the presence or absence of severe inflammation, as indicated by high CRP levels. Methods: In this cohort study, we measured serum albumin and CRP levels in 1638 older patients (aged 65 years or older) hospitalized for medical problems, and examined their utility, both separately and in combination, for predicting in-hospital mortality. Results: In separate analyses of CRP and albumin, both high CRP levels (≥5 mg/dl) and hypoalbuminemia (<3.5 g/dl) were associated with risk of in-hospital death. After dividing participants into four groups based on CRP and albumin levels (<5 mg/dl CRP and <3.5 mg/dl albumin), subjects with severe inflammation (CRP ≥5 mg/dl) and hypoalbuminemia were associated with an adjusted relative risk (ARR) of 3.8 for in-hospital mortality when compared with the reference (high albumin and low CRP). Even in the absence of severe inflammation, the presence of severe hypoalbuminemia was associated with an ARR of 2.6 for in-hospital mortality, when compared with patients without hypoalbuminemia. Conclusions: Both serum CRP and albumin levels are predictors of in-hospital mortality. However, high serum albumin levels may have a protective effect in older patients, regardless of degree of inflammation. Serum albumin levels remain a useful predictor, for in-hospital mortality in older hospitalized patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology