Copeptin and arginine vasopressin concentrations in critically ill patients

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Nov;91(11):4381-6. doi: 10.1210/jc.2005-2830. Epub 2006 Aug 29.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arginine Vasopressin / blood*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Glycopeptides / blood*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / blood
  • Thoracic Surgery


  • Glycopeptides
  • copeptins
  • Arginine Vasopressin
  • C-Reactive Protein