Plasma selenium concentration is decreased in patients with cirrhosis and, based on this finding, it has been suggested that patients with cirrhosis are selenium deficient. We measured plasma selenium concentration and the two plasma selenoproteins, glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx-3) and selenoprotein P, in the plasma of patients with cirrhosis of Child classes A, B, and C and in control subjects. Plasma selenium declined in proportion to the severity of the cirrhotic condition, as indicated by the Child class. Selenoprotein P, which originates largely in the liver, declined in a similar manner. Plasma glutathione peroxidase activity increased, and GSHPx-3 originates in the kidney. Selenium in the non-selenoprotein pool, shown by others to be largely selenomethionine in albumin, declined. Thus, although plasma selenium is decreased in patients with cirrhosis, the increase in plasma glutathione peroxidase activity, which occurs in them, suggests that patients with cirrhosis do not have selenium deficiency.