Edema formation in malnourished children is multifactorial and not necessarily caused by hypoalbuminemia. In Sudan, studies that evaluate serum albumin level in malnourished children are scarce, if any. The aim of this study is to assess serum albumin concentrations in Sudanese children with edematous and non-edematous malnutrition.
Material and Methods
The study involved 23 males matched for age and weight with 17 females. The ages of studied subjects ranged between 6 – 36 months. Weight and serum albumin levels were measured according to the standards. Patients were classified according to the presence of edema, Wellcome and Gomez classifications. In addition, patients were classified according to their levels of albumin into normal (3.5 - 4.8 g/dl), mild (2.8 - 3.4 g/dl), moderate (2.1 - 2.7 g/dl) and severe (< 2.1 g/dl) hypoalbuminemia.
Serum albumin levels were significantly lower in malnourished subjects with edema (M±SD = 2.4±0.8 g/dl) compared to those with malnutrition but no edema ((M±SD = 3.1±0.8 g/dl, P = 0.026) However, classifying studied malnourished children according to their albumin levels revealed no significant differences in the mean of albumin when albumin levels of edematous patients were compared with non-edematous subjects in each class (P> 0.05). There was no significant correlation between weight and serum albumin level (correlation coefficient (CC) = 0.156, P = 0.337).
The current study demonstrates the tendency of edematous malnourished children to have hypoalbuminemia; nevertheless, some children with significantly low albumin are still not suffering from edema. These paradoxical results display the possible variations in the pathophysiological response to food deprivation.