Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 1624–1627 | Cite as

Association of cell-free plasma DNA with hospital mortality and organ dysfunction in intensive care unit patients

  • Katri SaukkonenEmail author
  • Päivi Lakkisto
  • Marjut Varpula
  • Tero Varpula
  • Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki
  • Ville Pettilä
  • Kari Pulkki
Brief report



To investigate the concentration of cell-free plasma DNA and its association with organ dysfunction and hospital mortality in intensive care unit patients.

Design and setting

Prospective cohort study in a medical and two medical-surgical intensive care units in a university hospital.


228 critically ill patients admitted to the ICUs between January 2004 and July 2005.

Measurements and results

Blood samples were collected as soon as possible after ICU admission, the following morning, and 48 h after the second sample. The cell-free plasma DNA was measured by real-time quantitative PCR assay for the β-globin gene. Physiological and mortality data were collected to the clinical database. Hospital mortality rate and SOFA scores were primary outcome measures. The maximum plasma DNA concentrations were correlated significantly with APACHE II points and with maximum SOFA scores. Cell-free plasma DNA concentrations were higher in hospital non-survivors than in survivors (median 9,366 vs. 6,506 GE/ml). Using logistic regression analysis, the maximum plasma DNA was an independent predictor of hospital mortality.


The maximum plasma DNA concentration measured during the first 96 h of intensive care is associated with the degree of organ dysfunction and disease severity. Moreover, the maximum DNA concentration is independently associated with hospital mortality.


Plasma DNA Outcome Critical illness Hospital mortality Multiple organ dysfunction 

Supplementary material

134_2007_686_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material (DOC 26K)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katri Saukkonen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Päivi Lakkisto
    • 2
    • 5
  • Marjut Varpula
    • 1
  • Tero Varpula
    • 3
  • Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki
    • 1
  • Ville Pettilä
    • 4
  • Kari Pulkki
    • 5
  1. 1.Emergency Care, Department of MedicineHelsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Minerva Research InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care MedicineJorvi Hospital, Helsinki University Central HospitalEspooFinland
  4. 4.Intensive Care Unit, Division of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Department of SurgeryHelsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department of Clinical ChemistryHelsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland

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