Sepsis Markers

Sepsis is a common and serious complication in intensive care unit ( ICU ) patients. An important factor in optimizing survival rates in septic patients is the ability to start treatment early in the course of disease; there is, therefore, a need for accurate diagnostic tests. In recent years, there has been a move away from the rather vague and nonspecific signs that were previously used to diagnose sepsis towards the possible adjunctive role of biomarkers. Many biomarkers have been proposed and assessed clinically, but none alone is specific enough to definitively determine diagnosis. The future direction of research is most likely a greater focus on the use of panels or combinations of markers with clinical signs. Some biomarkers may also be useful for prognosis and guiding therapy.

  It is important to note that sepsis is not a true disease, but rather an innate physiological response by the immune system to infection. The gold standard of sepsis diagnosis has traditionally been the use of microbial cultures to identify the source of illness.  However, the major limitation of using cultures is the length of time required to develop cultures to identifiable quantities. Cultures are also reported to be insensitive under several conditions, including slow-growing and noncultivatable microorganisms and microorganisms present at very low concentrations. In light of these disadvantages, alternative diagnostic methods using molecular-based tests have been developed to enable rapid and/or automated diagnosis of sepsis.

 This material is very sophisticated and for the layperson, I will try to simplify this to the extent that the SW-APP wants you only ask some questions as an advocate so you or a loved one survives.