Background - The serum albumin concentration has frequently been regarded as an indicator of nutritional status, although the hypoalbuminemia may reflect an acute phase protein response during inflammation mediated by cytokines. Both hypoalbuminemia and malnutrition are observed in Crohn's disease. Objectives — To correlate the serum albumin values to disease activity and also to nutritional status in patients with Crohn's disease. Patients/Methods — Thirty six patients were studied. Nutritional status was assessed by anthropometry measures and inflammatory activity determined by Harvey's simple clinical index and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Results - No correlation was found between malnutrition and hypoalbuminemia. The serum albumin levels correlated inversely with the disease activity. Hypoalbuminemia was 100% sensitive for detection of disease activity. Conclusion - This study suggests that serum albumin concentration is a very sensitive marker of inflammatory activity and not good indicator of the nutritional status in Crohn's disease. It is necessary a suitable laboratorial parameter for routine nutrition assessment in patients with this inflammatory bowel disease.
Crohn disease; Albumin; Malnutrition; Inflammation; Cytokines