Sepsis, and related complications, is still a common cause of death in hospitalized patients worldwide, especially in critically ill neonates and children. Sepsis is also responsible for significant morbidity, and financial burden. It is very important to recognize sepsis early, since delayed diagnosis is associated with worse outcome. The early detection of sepsis remains a great challenge for clinicians because the use of blood cultures, the gold standard for diagnosis of bacteremia, is fraught with difficulties. The role of different immune and metabolic biomarkers is to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of sepsis. White blood cell count, C-reactive protein and procalcitonin are currently the most widely used biomarkers, but they have limited abilities to distinguish sepsis from other inflammatory conditions or to predict outcome. In this review, these biomarkers will be discussed along with novel diagnostic, prognostic and treatment response biomarkers, including interleukins -6, -8, -18, tumor necrosis factor – alpha, CD11b, CD64 and CD15s. The future of sepsis biomarkers lies in extensive validation studies of all novel biomarkers and their combinations as early predictors of sepsis. Also, research to identify novel sepsis biomarkers and develop specific therapeutic strategies based on biomarker information has to be continued.
Key words: infant, child, biomarkers, CD15s antigen, C-reactive protein, procalcitonin