Infection remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hospital. As uncontrolled early infection may develop into systemic infection and eventually progress to sepsis, it is important to address infection at an early stage. Furthermore, early detection and prompt diagnosis of infection are the basis of clinical intervention. However, as a result of the interference of complex aetiologies, including fever and trauma, problems regarding the sensitivity and specificity of current diagnostic indices remain, such as for C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), white blood cells (WBC), neutrophil ratio (NEU%), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and D-dimer. As a result, there is an urgent need to develop new biomarkers to diagnose infection.
From January to October 2021, consecutive patients in the emergency department (ED) were recruited to investigate the feasibility of fibulin-2 as a diagnostic indicator of early infection. Fibulin-2 concentrations in plasma were determined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The performance of fibulin-2 for predicting infection was analysed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.
We found that the plasma fibulin-2 level was elevated in patients with infection compared with those without infection. ROC curve analysis showed that the area under the curve (AUC) for fibulin-2 was 0.712. For all patients included, the diagnostic ability of fibulin-2 (AUC 0.712) performed as well as CRP (AUC 0.667) and PCT (AUC 0.632), and better than WBC (AUC 0.620), NEU% (AUC 0.619), IL-6 (AUC 0.561) and D-dimer (AUC 0.630). In patients with fever, fibulin-2 performed as well as PCT and better than the other biomarkers in infection diagnosis. In particular, fibulin-2 performed better than all these biomarkers in patients with trauma.
Fibulin-2 is a novel promising diagnostic biomarker for predicting infection.

© 2022. The Author(s).