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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Meningococcal disease: identifying high-risk cases


In the previous issue of Critical Care, Vermont and colleagues presented a simple but well-executed observational study describing the levels of chemokines in the serum of 58 children with meningococcal sepsis. The chemokine levels correlated with disease severity and outcome. Significant correlations were demonstrated between admission chemokine levels and the Paediatric Risk of Mortality score, the Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy score, the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score and laboratory parameters of disease severity. Additionally, nonsurvivors had much higher levels of chemokines compared with survivors, and the chemokine levels predicted mortality with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. The findings are important as they indicate a possible mechanism for risk stratification in future trials of novel therapies in human sepsis, which as yet have not been successful.