• Development and validation of a diagnostic model for early differentiation of sepsis and non-infectious SIRS in critically ill children - a data-driven approach using machine-learning algorithms.

      Lamping, Florian; Jack, Thomas; Rübsamen, Nicole; Sasse, Michael; Beerbaum, Philipp; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Boehne, Martin; Karch, André; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (BioMedCentral, 2018-03-15)
      BACKGROUND: Since early antimicrobial therapy is mandatory in septic patients, immediate diagnosis and distinction from non-infectious SIRS is essential but hampered by the similarity of symptoms between both entities. We aimed to develop a diagnostic model for differentiation of sepsis and non-infectious SIRS in critically ill children based on routinely available parameters (baseline characteristics, clinical/laboratory parameters, technical/medical support). METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial conducted at a German tertiary-care pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Two hundred thirty-eight cases of non-infectious SIRS and 58 cases of sepsis (as defined by IPSCC criteria) were included. We applied a Random Forest approach to identify the best set of predictors out of 44 variables measured at the day of onset of the disease. The developed diagnostic model was validated in a temporal split-sample approach. RESULTS: A model including four clinical (length of PICU stay until onset of non-infectious SIRS/sepsis, central line, core temperature, number of non-infectious SIRS/sepsis episodes prior to diagnosis) and four laboratory parameters (interleukin-6, platelet count, procalcitonin, CRP) was identified in the training dataset. Validation in the test dataset revealed an AUC of 0.78 (95% CI: 0.70-0.87). Our model was superior to previously proposed biomarkers such as CRP, interleukin-6, procalcitonin or a combination of CRP and procalcitonin (maximum AUC = 0.63; 95% CI: 0.52-0.74). When aiming at a complete identification of sepsis cases (100%; 95% CI: 87-100%), 28% (95% CI: 20-38%) of non-infectious SIRS cases were assorted correctly. CONCLUSIONS: Our approach allows early recognition of sepsis with an accuracy superior to previously described biomarkers, and could potentially reduce antibiotic use by 30% in non-infectious SIRS cases. External validation studies are necessary to confirm the generalizability of our approach across populations and treatment practices.
    • Proposing an empirically justified reference threshold for blood culture sampling rates in intensive care units.

      Karch, André; Castell, Stefanie; Schwab, Frank; Geffers, Christine; Bongartz, Hannah; Brunkhorst, Frank M; Gastmeier, Petra; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-02)
      Early and appropriate blood culture sampling is recommended as a standard of care for patients with suspected bloodstream infections (BSI) but is rarely taken into account when quality indicators for BSI are evaluated. To date, sampling of about 100 to 200 blood culture sets per 1,000 patient-days is recommended as the target range for blood culture rates. However, the empirical basis of this recommendation is not clear. The aim of the current study was to analyze the association between blood culture rates and observed BSI rates and to derive a reference threshold for blood culture rates in intensive care units (ICUs). This study is based on data from 223 ICUs taking part in the German hospital infection surveillance system. We applied locally weighted regression and segmented Poisson regression to assess the association between blood culture rates and BSI rates. Below 80 to 90 blood culture sets per 1,000 patient-days, observed BSI rates increased with increasing blood culture rates, while there was no further increase above this threshold. Segmented Poisson regression located the threshold at 87 (95% confidence interval, 54 to 120) blood culture sets per 1,000 patient-days. Only one-third of the investigated ICUs displayed blood culture rates above this threshold. We provided empirical justification for a blood culture target threshold in ICUs. In the majority of the studied ICUs, blood culture sampling rates were below this threshold. This suggests that a substantial fraction of BSI cases might remain undetected; reporting observed BSI rates as a quality indicator without sufficiently high blood culture rates might be misleading.