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      Prognostic utility and characterization of cell-free DNA in patients with severe sepsis

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          Although sepsis is the leading cause of death in noncoronary critically ill patients, identification of patients at high risk of death remains a challenge. In this study, we examined the incremental usefulness of adding multiple biomarkers to clinical scoring systems for predicting intensive care unit (ICU) mortality in patients with severe sepsis.

          Methods

          This retrospective observational study used stored plasma samples obtained from 80 severe sepsis patients recruited at three tertiary hospital ICUs in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Clinical data and plasma samples were obtained at study inclusion for all 80 patients, and then daily for 1 week, and weekly thereafter for a subset of 50 patients. Plasma levels of cell-free DNA (cfDNA), interleukin 6 (IL-6), thrombin, and protein C were measured and compared with clinical characteristics, including the primary outcome of ICU mortality and morbidity measured with the Multiple Organ Dysfunction (MODS) score and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores.

          Results

          The level of cfDNA in plasma at study inclusion had better prognostic utility than did MODS or APACHE II scores, or the biomarkers measured. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for cfDNA to predict ICU mortality is 0.97 (95% CI, 0.93 to 1.00) and to predict hospital mortality is 0.84 (95% CI, 0.75 to 0.94). We found that a cfDNA cutoff value of 2.35 ng/μl had a sensitivity of 87.9% and specificity of 93.5% for predicting ICU mortality. Sequential measurements of cfDNA suggested that ICU mortality may be predicted within 24 hours of study inclusion, and that the predictive power of cfDNA may be enhanced by combining it with protein C levels or MODS scores. DNA-sequence analyses and studies with Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) reporter cells suggests that the cfDNA from sepsis patients is host derived.

          Conclusions

          These studies suggest that cfDNA provides high prognostic accuracy in patients with severe sepsis. The serial data suggest that the combination of cfDNA with protein C and MODS scores may yield even stronger predictive power. Incorporation of cfDNA in sepsis risk-stratification systems may be valuable for clinical decision making or for inclusion into sepsis trials.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Bacterial Biofilms: A Common Cause of Persistent Infections

           J Costerton (1999)
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            Platelet TLR4 activates neutrophil extracellular traps to ensnare bacteria in septic blood.

            It has been known for many years that neutrophils and platelets participate in the pathogenesis of severe sepsis, but the inter-relationship between these players is completely unknown. We report several cellular events that led to enhanced trapping of bacteria in blood vessels: platelet TLR4 detected TLR4 ligands in blood and induced platelet binding to adherent neutrophils. This led to robust neutrophil activation and formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Plasma from severely septic humans also induced TLR4-dependent platelet-neutrophil interactions, leading to the production of NETs. The NETs retained their integrity under flow conditions and ensnared bacteria within the vasculature. The entire event occurred primarily in the liver sinusoids and pulmonary capillaries, where NETs have the greatest capacity for bacterial trapping. We propose that platelet TLR4 is a threshold switch for this new bacterial trapping mechanism in severe sepsis.
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              Multiple organ dysfunction score: a reliable descriptor of a complex clinical outcome.

              To develop an objective scale to measure the severity of the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome as an outcome in critical illness. Systematic literature review; prospective cohort study. Surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary-level teaching hospital. All patients (n = 692) admitted for > 24 hrs between May 1988 and March 1990. None. Computerized database review of MEDLINE identified clinical studies of multiple organ failure that were published between 1969 and 1993. Variables from these studies were evaluated for construct and content validity to identify optimal descriptors of organ dysfunction. Clinical and laboratory data were collected daily to evaluate the performance of these variables individually and in aggregate as an organ dysfunction score. Seven systems defined the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in more than half of the 30 published reports reviewed. Descriptors meeting criteria for construct and content validity could be identified for five of these seven systems: a) the respiratory system (Po2/FIO2 ratio); b) the renal system (serum creatinine concentration); c) the hepatic system (serum bilirubin concentration); d) the hematologic system (platelet count); and e) the central nervous system (Glasgow Coma Scale). In the absence of an adequate descriptor of cardiovascular dysfunction, we developed a new variable, the pressure-adjusted heart rate, which is calculated as the product of the heart rate and the ratio of central venous pressure to mean arterial pressure. These candidate descriptors of organ dysfunction were then evaluated for criterion validity (ICU mortality rate) using the clinical database. From the first half of the database (the development set), intervals for the most abnormal value of each variable were constructed on a scale from 0 to 4 so that a value of 0 represented essentially normal function and was associated with an ICU mortality rate of or = 50%. These intervals were then tested on the second half of the data set (the validation set). Maximal scores for each variable were summed to yield a Multiple Organ Dysfunction Score (maximum of 24). This score correlated in a graded fashion with the ICU mortality rate, both when applied on the first day of ICU admission as a prognostic indicator and when calculated over the ICU stay as an outcome measure. For the latter, ICU mortality was approximately 25% at 9 to 12 points, 50% at 13 to 16 points, 75% at 17 to 20 points, and 100% at levels of > 20 points. The score showed excellent discrimination, as reflected in areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.936 in the development set and 0.928 in the validation set. The incremental increase in scores over the course of the ICU stay (calculated as the difference between maximal scores and those scores obtained on the first day [i.e., the delta Multiple Organ Dysfunction Score]) also demonstrated a strong correlation with the ICU mortality rate. In a logistic regression model, this incremental increase in scores accounted for more of the explanatory power than admission severity indices. This multiple organ dysfunction score, constructed using simple physiologic measures of dysfunction in six organ systems, mirrors organ dysfunction as the intensivist sees it and correlates strongly with the ultimate risk of ICU mortality and hospital mortality. The variable, delta Multiple Organ Dysfunction Score, reflects organ dysfunction developing during the ICU stay, which therefore is potentially amenable to therapeutic manipulation. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Crit Care
                Crit Care
                Critical Care
                BioMed Central
                1364-8535
                1466-609X
                2012
                13 August 2012
                : 16
                : 4
                : R151
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Medicine, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ONT, L8S 4K1, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Medical Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ONT, L8S 4K1, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ONT, L8S 4K1, Canada
                [4 ]Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University, 237 Barton St. E., Hamilton, ONT, L8L 2X2, Canada
                [5 ]Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ONT, L8S 4K1, Canada
                [6 ]St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, 50 Charlton Ave. E, Hamilton, ONT, L8N 4A6, Canada
                [7 ]Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute (TaARI), 237 Barton St. E., Hamilton, ONT, L8L 2X2, Canada
                Article
                cc11466
                10.1186/cc11466
                3580740
                22889177
                Copyright ©2012 Dwivedi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. trials.

                Categories
                Research

                Emergency medicine & Trauma

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