April 10, 2024

Researchers develop fast, accurate blood test for sepsis, septic shock

Editor's Note

A new blood test developed by researchers in Australia could help diagnose sepsis and septic shock in just one hour, compared to the current multi-day methods. The Journal of Proteome Research reported the findings on March 21.

Researchers collected blood plasma samples from 152 ICU patients. They used blood plasma phenotyping to accurately diagnose sepsis and septic shock within one hour of blood collection by using 15 parameters, including metabolites, lipids, lipoproteins, and inflammatory markers. Both patients with sepsis and septic shock had higher concentrations of neopterin and lower levels of HDL cholesterol and phospholipid particles compared to non-sepsis patients. Researchers were able to differentiate the more serious septic shock patients based on different concentrations of ten lipids.

Sepsis is typically caused by bacterial infections in which the immune system’s extreme response damages the tissues and organs. Symptoms include fever, rapid breathing, and racing heart rate. The most serious version—septic shock—can cause organ failure and death. Often contracted in healthcare settings, sepsis affects hundreds of millions of patients worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Current testing involves pathogen culturing which can require days to receive results. According to the researchers, these findings could point to a faster and more accurate way to diagnose these life-threatening conditions and ultimately reduce mortality rates.

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