Purpose: Few studies on plasma glucagon levels in patients with sepsis have been performed. We aimed to assess clinical value of glucagon levels in comparison with clinical parameters and severity scores in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.
Methods: A total of 112 patients who were admitted to intensive care unit with severe sepsis or septic shock were included. Plasma levels of glucagon on days 0, 1, 3, and 7 were serially measured in 112 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.
Results: Compared with survivors, patients who died within 28 days had significantly higher glucagon levels on every day of examination. Glucagon levels were positively correlated with and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (day 0, r = 0.288, P < 0.01) and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (day 0, r = 0.482, P< 0.01; day 1, r = 0.588, P < 0.01; day 3, r = 0.480, P < 0.01; day 7, r = 0.454, P < 0.01). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the area under the curve of glucagon levels to predict 28-day survival was 0.65 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.55-0.75; P = 0.005), similar to the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores. Multivariate analysis revealed that glucagon levels of greater than 70 pg/mL (hazard ratio, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.03-3.29) and chronic liver disease (hazard ratio, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.02-3.79) were associated with mortality.
Conclusions: Glucagon levels might reflect disease severity and clinical outcomes in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.