New Blood Test Marks Progress in Battle Against Sepsis

MedicalNewsToday
15 Nov, 2019 ,

A new blood test could save lives in the treatment of sepsis. It assesses five markers in the blood to predict who is at low, medium, and high risk of death. With this knowledge, doctors could start treating the serious condition much earlier and with more precision.

 

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A new blood test could save lives in the treatment of sepsis. It assesses five markers in the blood to predict who is at low, medium, and high risk of death. With this knowledge, doctors could start treating the serious condition much earlier and with more precision.

New research details how a blood test could help predict and prevent sepsis.

Researchers from several children's hospitals in the United States have been developing the test – which they call PERSEVERE – for more than 10 years. They recently evaluated it in two ways.

First, they used the test to predict the risk of death in more than 400 children severely ill with sepsis. They then used it on mice with experimental sepsis to compare treatment decisions.

A recent paper in Science Translational Medicine gives a full account of the study and its findings.

Dr. Hector Wong, a director of Critical Care Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, is the study's senior investigator and first author.

He says that PERSEVERE not only puts patients into groups according to the deadliness of the sepsis but that it also enables doctors to decide which treatments to give to specific patients, such as picking the right drugs and dosages.

Unpredictable and challenging to treat

Sepsis is a serious condition in which the immune system launches an overwhelming response to infection. The cause of the infection can be any type of microbe, including fungi, bacteria, and viruses, but usually, it is bacteria.

The immune response releases inflammatory proteins into the bloodstream, causing blood clots to form and vessels to leak. This impedes blood flow and leads to organ damage.

The progress of sepsis is often unpredictable and rapid. It is a significant cause of hospital deaths and readmissions.

Despite significant progress in modern medicine, sepsis remains a challenge for doctors and carries a high risk of death.

Five biomarkers for sepsis prognosis

Over the 10 years or more that the researchers have been developing PERSEVERE, they have evaluated it using information from more than 1,000 children.