Diagnostic and prognostic values of serum activin-a levels in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome

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Background: We aimed to evaluate whether serum activin-A levels are elevated and have any value in predicting severity and prognosis in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Methods: Retrospective cohort study was performed with patients who were admitted to MICU with diagnosis of ARDS and have serum samples stored within 48 h of Intensive care unit (ICU) admission between March 2013 and December 2016 at a single tertiary referral hospital. Serum activin-A levels were measured with ELISA kit, and were compared with those of normal healthy control and non-ARDS sepsis patients. Results: Total 97 ARDS patients were included for the study. Levels of Activin-A were elevated in ARDS patients compared to those of healthy controls (Log-transformed activin-A levels 2.89 ± 0.36 vs. 2.34 ± 0.11, p < 0.001, absolute activin-A levels 1525.6 ± 1060.98 vs. 225.9 ± 30.1, p = 0.016) and non-ARDS sepsis patients (Log-transformed activin-A levels 2.89 ± 0.36 vs. 2.73 ± 0.34, p = 0.002, Absolute activin-A levels 1525.6 ± 1060.98 vs. 754.8 ± 123.5 pg/mL, p = 0.036). When excluding five outliers with extremely high activin-A levels, activin-A showed statistically significant correlation with in-hospital mortalities (In-hospital survivors 676.2 ± 407 vs. non-survivors 897.9 ± 561.9 pg/mL, p = 0.047). In predicting in-hospital mortality, serum activin-A concentrations showed superior area under curve compared to that of Acute physiologic and chronic health evaluation II scores (0.653; 95% CI [0541, 0.765] vs. 0.591, 95% CI [0.471, 0.710]). With cut-off level of 708 pg/mL, those with high serum activin-A levels had more than twofold increased risk of in-hospital mortalities. However, those relations were missing when outliers were in. Conclusions: Serum activin-A levels in ARDS patients are elevated. However, its levels are weakly associated with ARDS outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2019


  • Activins
  • Hospital mortality
  • Intensive care units
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory distress syndrome, adult

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