Presepsin (Soluble cd14 subtype) as an early marker of neonatal sepsis and septic shock: A prospective diagnostic trial

Carlo Pietrasanta, Andrea Ronchi, Claudia Vener, Chiara Poggi, Claudia Ballerini, Lea Testa, Rosaria Maria Colombo, Elena Spada, Carlo Dani, Fabio Mosca, Lorenza Pugni

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In the context of suspected neonatal sepsis, early diagnosis and stratification of patients according to clinical severity is not yet effectively achieved. In this diagnostic trial, we aimed to assess the accuracy of presepsin (PSEP) for the diagnosis and early stratification of supposedly septic neonates. PSEP, C-reactive protein (CRP), and procalcitonin (PCT) were assessed at the onset of sepsis suspicion (T0), every 12–24 h for the first 48 h (T1–T4), and at the end of antibiotic therapy (T5). Enrolled neonates were stratified into three groups (infection, sepsis, septic shock) according to Wynn and Wong’s definitions. Sensitivity, specificity, and area under the ROC curve (AUC) according to the severity of clinical conditions were assessed. We enrolled 58 neonates with infection, 77 with sepsis, and 24 with septic shock. PSEP levels were higher in neonates with septic shock (median 1557.5 pg/mL) and sepsis (median 1361 pg/mL) compared to those with infection (median 977.5 pg/mL) at T0 (p < 0.01). Neither CRP nor PCT could distinguish the three groups at T0. PSEP’s AUC was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.854–0.943) for sepsis and 0.94 (95% CI: 0.885–0.988) for septic shock. Maximum Youden index was 1013 pg/mL (84.4% sensitivity, 88% specificity) for sepsis, and 971.5 pg/mL for septic shock (92% sensitivity, 86% specificity). However, differences in PSEP between neonates with positive and negative blood culture were limited. Thus, PSEP was an early biomarker of neonatal sepsis severity, but did not support the early identification of neonates with positive blood culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number580
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammation
  • Neonatal sepsis
  • Newborn
  • Presepsin
  • Septic shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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