Introduction: Burn-induced changes in the phenotype and function of neutrophils, cells which provide front-line protection against rapidly dividing bacterial infections, are emerging as potential biomarkers for the early prediction of sepsis. In a longitudinal study of adult burns patients, we recently demonstrated that a combined measurement of neutrophil phagocytic capacity, immature granulocyte (IG) count and plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels on the day of injury gave good discriminatory power for the prediction of later sepsis development. However, limited by a small sample size, single-centre design and focus on adult burns patients, these biomarkers require prospective validation in a larger patient cohort. The Scientific Investigation of the Biological Pathways Following Thermal Injury-2 study aims to prospectively validate neutrophil phagocytic activity, IG count and plasma cfDNA levels as early prognostic biomarkers of sepsis in thermally injured adult and paediatric patients.
Methods and analysis: This multicentre, longitudinal, observational cohort study will enrol 245 paediatric and adult patients with moderate to severe burns within 24 hours of injury. Blood samples will be obtained at 19 postinjury time points (days 1–14, day 28, months 3, 6, 12 and 24) and analysed for neutrophil phagocytic activity, IG count and cfDNA levels. Patients will be screened daily for sepsis using the 2007 American Burn Association diagnostic criteria for sepsis. In addition, daily multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Scores will be recorded relationships between neutrophil phagocytic activity, IG count and plasma cfDNA levels on day 1 of injury and the development of sepsis will be examined using logistic regression models.
Ethics and dissemination: This study received ethics approval from the West Midlands, Coventry and Warwickshire Research Ethics Committee (REC reference:16/WM/0217). Findings will be presented at national and international conferences, and submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Trial registration number: NCT04693442.
- Cohort Studies
- Longitudinal Studies
- Multicenter Studies as Topic
- Observational Studies as Topic
- Prospective Studies