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Osmosis is important!
A report in the 23 April 1998 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine tells of the life-threatening complications that can be caused by an ignorance of osmosis.

·         Large volumes of a solution of 5% human albumin are injected into people undergoing a procedure called plasmapheresis.

·         The albumin is dissolved in physiological saline (0.9% NaCl) and is therefore isotonic to human plasma (the large protein molecules of albumin have only a small osmotic effect).

·         If 5% solutions are unavailable, pharmacists may substitute a proper dilution of a 25% albumin solution. Mixing 1 part of the 25% solution with 4 parts of diluent results in the correct 5% solution of albumin.

·         BUT, in several cases, massive, life-threatening hemolysis (bursting of red blood cells) occurred in the patients after the treatment.

What might have happened? Discuss!

 

 

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