JOURNAL ARTICLE

Early and late markers for the detection of early-onset neonatal sepsis

L Bender, J Thaarup, K Varming, H Krarup, S Ellermann-Eriksen, F Ebbesen
Danish Medical Bulletin 2008, 55 (4): 219-23
19232162

INTRODUCTION: In this study we tested how a combination of early and late paraclinic markers could predict early onset neonatal sepsis (EONS).

METHODOLOGY: The first 24 hours after the suspicion of EONS, we measured interleukine (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interferon gamma (INF-gamma), procalcitonin (PCT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) at 8-hour intervals on 123 neonates clinically suspected for EONS. The neonates were divided into two groups. The sepsis group: 1A with blood culture verified bacteraemia and 1B strongly suspected sepsis (29 patients). The no sepsis group: 2A treated with antibiotics (37 patients) and 2B not treated with antibiotics (57 patients).

RESULTS: Combined evaluation of each of the early markers with PCT > 25 ng/ml for prediction of EONS at time 0, gave the following sensitivities and specificities: IL-6 > 250 pg/ml: 71% and 88%; IL-8 > 900 pg/ml: 50% and 88%; IL-10 > 40 pg/ml: 43% and 87%; and immature/total (I/T) ratio > 0.35: 59% and 88%. The results of IL-18, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma did not predict EONS.

CONCLUSION: IL-6 combined with PCT values is a fair way to evaluate EONS at the time of suspicion of infection. The "old" early marker, I/T ratio, is almost as efficient as IL-6. By combining an early and a late marker it may be possible to reduce the diagnostic "non-conclusive" period of paraclinic values.

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