Birmingham researchers devise test to predict sepsis in burns patients

Researchers have created a potentially life-saving new test that will allow clinicians to predict which burn victims will develop sepsis during their treatment.

Their findings, published in Annals of Surgery, show that using just three biomarkers of neutrophil (white blood cells) function on the day of injury can determine which patients with major burn injuries are likely to become septic.

In addition to its potential as a diagnostic marker for sepsis, the data highlights burn-induced neutrophil dysfunction as a potential therapeutic target to reduce susceptibility to bacterial infections and sepsis.

The ground-breaking research was funded by the Healing Foundation Birmingham Centre for Burns Research, a partnership including University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT).

Centre Director, Mr Naiem Moiemen, a consultant in burns and plastics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said, “The researchers have shown that burn patients who may suffer life threatening systemic infections, which occur in 30 percent of major burns at around day six following their injury, could be identified with a 98.6 percent certainty.

“Burn patients who suffer systemic infection have a high probability of non-surviving their injury. This discovery will enable the clinicians to stratify the care of these patients and improve their outcomes.”

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