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BMC Infect Dis. 2008 Feb 19;8:18. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-8-18.

Toward an operative diagnosis in sepsis: a latent class approach.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Grupo Académico de Epidemiología Clínica, School of Medicine, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.



Recent data have suggested that 18 million of new sepsis cases occur each year worldwide, with a mortality rate of almost 30%. There is not consensus on the clinical definition of sepsis and, because of lack of training or simply unawareness, clinicians often miss or delay this diagnosis. This is especially worrying; since there is strong evidence supporting that early treatment is associated with greater clinical success. There are some difficulties for sepsis diagnosis such as the lack of an appropriate gold standard to identify this clinical condition. This situation has hampered the assessment of the accuracy of clinical signs and biomarkers to diagnose sepsis.


Cross-sectional study to determine the operative characteristics of three biological markers of inflammation and coagulation (D-dimer, C-reactive protein and Procalcitonin) as diagnostic tests for sepsis, in patients admitted to hospital care with a presumptive infection as main diagnosis.


There are alternative techniques that have been used to assess the accuracy of tests without gold standards, and they have been widely used in clinical disciplines such as psychiatry, even though they have not been tested in sepsis diagnosis. Considering the main importance of diagnosis as early as possible, we propose a latent class analysis to evaluate the accuracy of three biomarkers to diagnose sepsis.

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