Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 404–408 | Cite as

Blood lactate levels are better prognostic indicators than TNF and IL-6 levels in patients with septic shock

  • G. Marecaux
  • M. R. Pinsky
  • E. Dupont
  • R. J. Kahn
  • J. -L. Vincent



Both serum levels of tumor necrosis factr-α (TNFα) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and blood lactate levels in patients with septic shock have been shown to correlate with prognosis. The aim of the study was to define the relative predictive value of these measures.


38 hospitalized patients with septic shock, including 18 survivors and 20 non-survivors.Intervention: Blood TNFα (immunoradiometric assay), IL-6 (bioassay) and lactate (enzymatic method) levels were serally measured at the onset of septic shock and after 24 and 48 h.


TNFα levels tended to be higher in the non-surviors than in the survivors at the onset of shock (204±392 vs 129±195 pg/ml,p-NS) but decreased similary in both goups with time (p=0.03). IL-6 levels at admission, were highly variable (9656±19851 U/ml in the non-surviours and 69222±248804 U/ml in the survivors). Log IL-6 decreased similarly in both groups with time (p=0.004). Admission blood lactate levels were higher in the nonsurviours than in the survivors (6.11±4.78 mEq/l vs 3.49±2.00 mEq/l,p<0.05) and decreased significantly with time in all patients (p=0.024.), However, this decrease was greater in the survivors than in the non-surviors (p=0.003).


These data indicate that the large variability in TNFα and IL-6 level limit their prognostic significance in patients with septic shock. The predictive value of the trend in cytokine levels over time is not superior to that of trends in blood lactate levels.

Key words

Blood lactate Cytokine levels Septic shock 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Marecaux
    • 1
  • M. R. Pinsky
    • 3
  • E. Dupont
    • 2
  • R. J. Kahn
    • 1
  • J. -L. Vincent
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care, Erasme HospitalFree University of BrusselsBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Immunology, Erasme HospitalFree University of BrusselsBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of PittsburghUSA

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