Context: Determination of arginine vasopressin (AVP) concentrations may be helpful to guide therapy in critically ill patients. A new assay analyzing copeptin, a stable peptide derived from the AVP precursor, has been introduced.
Objective: Our objective was to determine plasma copeptin concentrations.
Design: We conducted a post hoc analysis of plasma samples and data from a prospective study.
Setting: The setting was a 12-bed general and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) in a tertiary university teaching hospital.
Patients: Our subjects were 70 healthy volunteers and 157 ICU patients with sepsis, with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and after cardiac surgery.
Interventions: There were no interventions.
Main outcome measures: Copeptin plasma concentrations, demographic data, AVP plasma concentrations, and a multiple organ dysfunction syndrome score were documented 24 h after ICU admission.
Results: AVP (P < 0.001) and copeptin (P < 0.001) concentrations were significantly higher in ICU patients than in controls. Patients after cardiac surgery had higher AVP (P = 0.003) and copeptin (P = 0.003) concentrations than patients with sepsis or SIRS. Independent of critical illness, copeptin and AVP correlated highly significantly with each other. Critically ill patients with sepsis and SIRS exhibited a significantly higher ratio of copeptin/AVP plasma concentrations than patients after cardiac surgery (P = 0.012). The American Society of Anesthesiologists' classification (P = 0.046) and C-reactive protein concentrations (P = 0.006) were significantly correlated with the copeptin/AVP ratio.
Conclusions: Plasma concentrations of copeptin and AVP in healthy volunteers and critically ill patients correlate significantly with each other. The ratio of copeptin/AVP plasma concentrations is increased in patients with sepsis and SIRS, suggesting that copeptin may overestimate AVP plasma concentrations in these patients.