Biomarker-based risk stratification in pediatric sepsis from a low-middle income country

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Objectives: Most biomarker studies of sepsis originate from high-income countries, whereas mortality risk is higher in low- and middle-income countries. The second version of the Pediatric Sepsis Biomarker Risk Model (PERSEVERE-II) has been validated in multiple North American PICUs for prognosis. Given differences in epidemiology, we assessed the performance of PERSEVERE-II in septic children from Pakistan, a low-middle income country. Due to uncertainty regarding how well PERSEVERE-II would perform, we also assessed the utility of other select biomarkers reflecting endotheliopathy, coagulopathy, and lung injury.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: PICU in Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Patients: Children (< 18 yr old) meeting pediatric modifications of adult Sepsis-3 criteria between November 2020 and February 2022 were eligible.
Interventions: None.
Measurements and main results: Plasma was collected within 24 hours of admission and biomarkers quantified. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for PERSEVERE-II to discriminate 28-day mortality was determined. Additional biomarkers were compared between survivors and nonsurvivors and between subjects with and without acute respiratory distress syndrome. In 86 subjects (20 nonsurvivors, 23%), PERSEVERE-II discriminated mortality (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.72-0.94) and stratified the cohort into low-, medium-, and high-risk of mortality. Biomarkers reflecting endotheliopathy (angiopoietin 2, intracellular adhesion molecule 1) increased across worsening risk strata. Angiopoietin 2, soluble thrombomodulin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 were higher in nonsurvivors, and soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-products and surfactant protein D were higher in children meeting acute respiratory distress syndrome criteria.
Conclusions: PERSEVERE-II performs well in septic children from Aga Khan University Hospital, representing the first validation of PERSEVERE-II in a low-middle income country. Patients possessed a biomarker profile comparable to that of sepsis from high-income countries, suggesting that biomarker-based enrichment strategies may be effective in this setting


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Pediatric critical care medicine