Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R.

12 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR increased in 2015: 3.017
Rank 5 out of 30 in category Medical Laboratory Technology in the 2014 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report/Science Edition

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.873
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.982
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 2.238

See all formats and pricing


Select Volume and Issue


30,00 € / $42.00 / £23.00

Get Access to Full Text

Erythrocyte zinc content in critically ill patients

Darren Cutinha
  • Department of Chemical Pathology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK
/ Sashi Vaja
  • Department of Chemical Pathology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK
/ David Treacher
  • Department of Intensive Care, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK
/ R. Swaminathan
  • Department of Chemical Pathology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK


Abnormalities in thyroid hormone metabolism are common in critically ill patients. However, it is not known if these patients are truly hypothyroid at tissue level. Erythrocyte zinc has been shown to be a tissue marker of thyroid hormone status. In this study we have measured the erythrocyte zinc in critically ill patients.

In this observational study we measured the zinc content of young erythrocytes in blood samples from 33 healthy subjects, 26 hypothyroid patients, four hyperthyroid patients, and 44 patients in the intensive care unit – 22 of these were admitted after a major surgical procedure (surgical group) and the other 22 patients had a variety of conditions (non-surgical group). Erythrocytes were separated according to age by centrifugation. Plasma thyroid hormone concentrations were abnormal in 70% of the critically ill group. Erythrocyte zinc was significantly lower in hyperthyroid patients and higher in hypothyroid patients. In the non-surgical patients, erythrocyte zinc of young cells (median 256 μmol/L of cells) was significantly higher than (p<0.01) the corresponding cells in the healthy controls (202 μmol/L of cells), whereas in the surgical group it was not different (197 μmol/L of cells). We conclude that in non-surgical critically ill patients, erythrocyte zinc content is higher, suggesting that these patients may be hypothyroid at tissue level.

Keywords: critical illness; erythrocyte zinc; hypothyroidism; non-thyroidal illness; tissue markers

Corresponding author: Professor R. Swaminathan, Department of Chemical Pathology, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, United Kingdom Phone: +44-20-7188-1285, Fax: +44-20-7928-4226,

Received: May 16, 2005

Accepted: July 4, 2005

Published in Print: 2005-09-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine. Volume 43, Issue 9, Pages 930–933, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2005.159, September 2005

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Joseph I. Boullata
Journal of Infusion Nursing, 2013, Volume 36, Number 1, Page 16

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.