Skip to main content

Indocyanine green plasma disappearance rate for assessment of liver function: re-evaluation of normal ranges and impact of biometric data


The indocyanine green plasma disappearance rate (ICG-PDR) is a dynamic liver function test that can be non-invasively measured by pulse densitometry. ICG-PDR is associated with mortality and other markers of outcome. Due to predominant use of ICG-PDR in the ICU setting, the normal range is based on scarce data available outside the ICU and given with 18 to 25%/minute.


To prospectively re-evaluate the normal range and to analyze the potential impact of biometric data on ICG-PDR, we measured ICG-PDR (i.v. injection of 0.25 mg/kg ICG; LiMON, Pulsion, Munich, Germany) in 95 outpatients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Due to a prevalence of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) of 5% in UC, patients were asked regarding previous diagnosis of PSC. Additionally, serum bilirubin, AST, ALT, INR, AP, γGT and cholinesterase were determined. Association of biometric data (age, gender, height, weight) and diagnosis of PSC on ICG-PDR were evaluated using Spearman correlation, ROC and multivariate analysis (statistics: IBM SPSS 20).


A total of 95 patients (54 male, 41 female), age 43.2 ± 15.5 (21 to 76) years, weight 74 ± 16 kg, height 175 ± 10 cm, BMI 23.7 ± 4, bilirubin 0.48 ± 0.27 mg/dl, AST 26.8 ± 11.4 U/l, ALT 26.8 ± 14.9 U/l, previous diagnosis of PSC 8/95 (8.4%). ICG-PDR ranged from 13.8 to 44.0 with a mean of 28.2 ± 6.8 and a median of 27.0%/minute. In univariate analysis ICG-PDR was significantly associated with age (r = -0.480; P < 0.001), weight (r = -0.262; P = 0.011) and female gender (r = 0.221; P = 0.032), but not to height (P = 0.681). In multivariate analysis (R = 0.459) including the variables age, gender, height, weight and diagnosis of PSC, only age was independently (P < 0.001) associated with ICG-PDR. With each year in age, ICG-PDR decreased by 0.206%/minute. In ROC analysis, ICG-PDR above the upper normal range (>25%/minute) was significantly associated with young age (AUC 0.746; P < 0.001).


ICG-PDR (normal) values should be corrected for age. With a decrease in ICG-PDR of 0.206% per year, the range between the upper and lower normal level (25 to 18%/minute) is passed through within about 35 years of life. These findings are in accordance with functional loss of other organ functions (for example, cardiac output, glomerular filtration rate) with increasing age. Normal ranges of innovative markers of organ function mainly derived from ICU populations should be re-evaluated outside the ICU.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to W Huber.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Huber, W., Kranzmayr, M., Schultheiss, C. et al. Indocyanine green plasma disappearance rate for assessment of liver function: re-evaluation of normal ranges and impact of biometric data. Crit Care 17, P178 (2013).

Download citation


  • Bilirubin
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Glomerular Filtration
  • Cholinesterase