Presepsin (or sCD14) has been identified as a protein whose levels increase specifically in the blood of patients with bacterial infections. In this study, we evaluated the clinical performance of sCD14 and its usefulness in the early diagnosis of bacterial infection in decompensated cirrhotic patients.
Seventy patients were enrolled in this study. The mean age of patients was 49.5 years, and 21 were women and 49 men. The heparinized whole blood for the PATHFAST test was used in the evaluation of bacterial infection (T0). The test was repeated after 48 hours (T1); at 96 hours (T2); at 144 hours (T3); then at 15 days (T4) to monitor the clinical responses to therapeutic interventions.
Forty-nine patients tested positive for sCD14. The mean sCD14 level was 1854 ± 1744 pg/mL. Microbiological findings confirmed the presence of bacterial infections within 84 ± 4.8 h from enrollment in all 49 positive patients. Thirty-eight patients were considered responders to empirical antibiotic therapy with a decrease of presepsin at the different time points, while an increased level of sCD14 was highlighted in 11 patients. When the test was performed, 45% of the patients showed no signs or symptoms of bacterial infection. At 30 days of follow-up 43 patients survived, and 6 patients died from septic shock.
The PATHFAST test highlighted the presence of infection in a very short time (15 minutes), and the presepsin could be considered an early biomarker in patients with cirrhosis. A greater number of patients are necessary to confirm these data.

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