Biomarkers and newer laboratory investigations in the diagnosis of sepsis

Sepsis is a major cause of death in hospitalised patients accounting for mortality rates as high as 60% and, hence, is called ‘a hidden public health disaster’. Sepsis is defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. Sepsis is not a disease but is a clinical syndrome, where the initial features are nonspecific resulting in delayed diagnosis. Lack of specific laboratory tests to diagnose the syndrome adds to the diagnostic confusion.

Current clinical controversies in the management of sepsis

Sepsis remains a challenging clinical problem requiring prompt diagnosis and optimal clinical management if the continuing high mortality is to be contained. In this brief review I consider four specific questions that are the subject of ongoing controversy. First, whether the new ‘Sepsis-3’ definitions will be helpful, in particular in improving diagnosis, or whether the rapid move towards precision medicine will make the definition redundant. Second, should we routinely use combinations of antibiotics for the empiric treatment of sepsis.