A doctor needed to administer 5% albumin to a patient. Albumin is normally administered dissolved in 0.9% saline solution. Since the physician did not have any 5% albumin solution, he diluted 25% albumin with water and administered this to the patient. Describe what you think happened to the blood cells of the patient as a result?

So this is what I think:

If the doctor dilutes the 25% albumin, that will make the solution have a lower concentration of solute, creating a hypotonic solution. Therefore the water will move into the cells, causing them to swell, lyse or burst.

Is this correct?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sure sounds correct to me. p.s. Stupid doc's solution will be (0.9/5)% saline = 0.18% saline. Way too low. $\endgroup$
    – dmm
    Oct 10, 2013 at 5:40

1 Answer 1


Albumin wont form a true solution and wont affect the osmolarity greatly (colloid forming molecules like proteins can affect osmotic pressure to an extent. See oncotic pressure).. and since there is no solute the solution would be hypotonic..

But what effect it will have on the blood cells depends on how much solution was injected.


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