The Emerging Role of Presepsin (P-SEP) in the Diagnosis of Sepsis in the Critically Ill Infant: A Literature Review

Abstract: Sepsis causes high rates of morbidity and mortality in NICUs. The estimated incidence varies between 5 and 170 per 1000 births, depending on the social context. In very low birth-weight neonates, the level of mortality increases with the duration of hospitalization, reaching 36% among infants aged 8–14 days and 52% among infants aged 15–28 days. Early diagnosis is the only tool to improve the poor prognosis of neonatal sepsis. Blood culture, the gold standard for diagnosis, is time-consuming and poorly sensitive. C-reactive protein and procalcitonin, currently used as sepsis biomarkers, are influenced by several maternal and fetal pro-inflammatory conditions in the perinatal age. Presepsin is the N-terminal fragment of soluble CD14 subtype (sCD14-ST): it is released in the bloodstream by monocytes and macrophages, in response to bacterial invasion. Presepsin seems to be a new, promising biomarker for the early diagnosis of sepsis in neonates as it is not modified by perinatal confounding inflammatory factors. The aim of the present review is to collect current knowledge about the role of presepsin in critically ill neonates.

Keywords: sepsis; infants; biomarkers; neonate; septic shock; point-of-care