Serum albumin concentration was measured in 195 infants of 25 to 42 weeks' gestation during the neonatal period. Concentrations were significantly lower in preterm infants, rising from a mean of 19 g/l at 26 weeks to 31 g/l at term. There was a 15% increase in albumin concentrations in the first three weeks of life. Oedema in the early and late neonatal period was common in preterm infants but correlated poorly with hypoalbuminaemia. Measurement of serum albumin concentrations in preterm infants either routinely or because of oedema is not clinically useful.
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