Total plasma sulfide as a marker of shock severity in nonsurgical adult patients

Shock. 2011 Oct;36(4):350-5. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e31822bcfd0.


Previous animal and human studies have suggested that total plasma sulfide plays a role in the pathophysiology of shock. This study's aim was to determine the value of total plasma sulfide as a marker of shock severity in nonsurgical adult patients admitted to the ICU. Forty-one patients, with various types of shock (septic, cardiogenic, obstructive, and hypovolemic), were included in the study, with an average total plasma sulfide concentration of 23.2 ± 26.3 µM. Survivors (of shock) had lower total plasma sulfide concentrations than nonsurvivors (13.0 ± 26.3 vs. 31.9 ± 31.5 µM; P = 0.02). Total plasma sulfide correlated with dose of administered norepinephrine (R linear = 0.829; P = 0.001) and with Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score (R cubic = 0.767; P = 0.001). Area under the receiver operating characteristic for total plasma sulfide as a predictor of ICU mortality was 0.739 (confidence interval, 0.587-0.892; P = 0.009). Even after correcting for APACHE II score and lactate values, total plasma sulfide correlated with mortality (odds ratio, 1.058; 95% confidence interval, 1.001-1.118; P = 0.045). The study provides evidence that, in nonsurgical adult ICU patients admitted because of any type of shock, total plasma sulfide correlates with administered norepinephrine dose at admission, severity of disease (APACHE II score ≥30 points), and survival outcome.

Trial registration: NCT01088490.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Shock / blood*
  • Shock / drug therapy
  • Shock / mortality
  • Shock / pathology*
  • Sulfides / blood*


  • Sulfides
  • Norepinephrine

Associated data