March 29, 2024

Blood test could help identify risk of sepsis, organ failure in children

Editor's Note

Measuring gene activity in blood samples could help determine whether a child is at risk of sepsis and organ failure, according to findings published March 18 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. 

It is often difficult for clinicians to diagnose sepsis because the symptoms are similar to those of other pediatric illnesses, the researchers write. A simple test that can accurately determine whether an infection is present could be a valuable tool to prevent serious outcomes and unnecessary treatments. 

For this study, the Australian researchers looked at blood samples from 900 critically ill children in four Queensland hospitals during the acute stage of sepsis infection. Analyzing genes that were activated and deactivated, they found patterns of gene expression indicating whether a child had an infection or inflammatory syndrome, as well as the risk of organ failure within the next 24 hours.

Further investigation will focus on the feasibility of a point-of-care platform that could provide blood test results within an hour.

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