Circulating biomarkers to assess cardiovascular function in critically ill

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2021 Jun 1;27(3):261-268. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000829.


Purpose of review: Circulatory shock is one of the most common reasons for ICU admission. Mortality rates in excess of 40% necessitate the rapid identification of high-risk patients, as well as the early assessment of effects of initiated treatments. There is an unmet medical need for circulating biomarkers that may improve patient stratification, predict responses to treatment interventions and may even be a target for novel therapies, enabling a better biological rationale to personalize therapy.

Recent findings: Apart from established biomarkers such as lactate, ScvO2 or NT-pro-BNP, novel biomarkers, including adrenomedullin, angiopoietins, angiotensin I/II ratios, renin and DPP3 show promise, as they are all associated with well defined, therapeutically addressable molecular pathways that are dysregulated during circulatory shock. Although some of the therapies related to these biomarkers are still in preclinical stages of development, they may represent personalized treatment opportunities for patients in circulatory shock.

Summary: From a molecular perspective, shock represents a highly heterologous syndrome, in which multiple unique pathways are dysregulated. Assessment of the status of these pathways with circulating biomarkers may provide a unique opportunity to detect specific phenotypes and implement personalized medicine in the treatment of circulatory shock.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Critical Illness*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Shock* / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers