Background: Systemic serum levels of markers of endothelial activation are associated with infection. We hypothesize that levels of markers of endothelial activation are associated with the presence of a positive blood culture as a manifestation of a systemic infection in children with a suspected severe infection in Suriname.
Methods: In this prospective observational cohort study, children between 1 month and 18 years of age suspected of severe infection as assessed by the threating physician, and in whom laboratory testing and blood culturing was performed before start of intravenous antibiotic treatment, were recruited at the emergency department of the Academic Hospital Paramaribo, Suriname. Serum was collected at blood culturing and after 48-72 h of admission. Serum was stored for measurement of levels of Angiopoietin (Ang)-1, Ang-2, soluble (s)P-selectin, sE-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and platelet and endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1.
Results: Fifty-one children were included of whom 10 had a positive blood culture. Baseline characteristics were similar between children with and without a positive blood culture. No significant differences in serum levels of the Angiopoietins or soluble cellular adhesion molecules between groups were observed at start of antibiotic treatment nor after 48-72 h.
Conclusions: The data from this study indicate that in children with severe infection, serum levels of markers of endothelial cell activation are not associated with a positive blood culture. Thus, having a positive bacterial blood culture may not be the only factor driving endothelial activation in this patient population.