Sepsis is the body’s systemic inflammatory response to infection and can progress to organ failure, septic shock and ultimately death.(1)
There are over 18 million cases of sepsis worldwide each year with up to 215,000 deaths in the US alone, more than the combined number of deaths from prostate, colorectal and breast cancer. The number of annual sepsis cases is increasing – this may be due to an ageing population, the rise in antibiotic resistance or broader use of immunosuppressants.
Early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is essential for the survival of the patient – for every hour that proper treatment is delayed, the mortality associated with sepsis increases by 7.5%.
There are several major impediments to the effectiveness of sepsis diagnosis and treatment strategies:
- Failure to recognise the early stages of the disease – diagnosis of the sepsis patient can be difficult as symptoms such as fever, rapid heartbeat and increased respiration are non-specific.
- Existing laboratory tests can also be non-specific.
- Underestimation of disease severity
Heparin Binding Protein has been shown to be useful in identifying patients at risk of developing sepsis with circulatory failure.
An increased plasma Heparin Binding Protein level has been shown to precede the clinical development of circulatory failure by several hours in many patients.
1. Levy MM et al, Crit Care Med 2003, 31:1250-1256