C-reactive protein: an early predictor of sepsis in patients with thermal burns


  • Joby John Department of General Surgery, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
  • Meer M. Chisthi Department of General Surgery, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
  • Krishnakumar G. Kuttanchettiyar Department of General Surgery, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India




Acute phase reactants, Biomarkers, Burns, C-reactive protein, Sepsis


Background: Due to the high mortality rate of established sepsis in patients with burn injuries, it would be beneficial if the onset can be predicted before it is fully established. The objective of the study was to estimate the predictive value of C-reactive protein in thermal burns patients. The secondary objective was to determine how much earlier CRP level allowed the prediction of sepsis in these patients.

Methods: This was a case-control study, conducted prospectively on 60 human patients admitted with thermal burns. Cases were those who developed sepsis following burns and the controls were burns patients without sepsis. All patients underwent serial estimation of C-reactive protein values on alternative days, along with other blood parameters. From the data, the predictive value of C-reactive protein in sepsis was analysed.

Results: A significant higher value of C-reactive protein was found in septic patients. Rise in serum C-reactive protein level predicted sepsis with an efficacy of 87%, while the sensitivity was found to be 93% and the specificity was 80%, with a significant odds ratio of 56. Also a pre-defined rise in C-reactive protein predicted the onset of sepsis about 2 days before the clinical onset.

Conclusions: C-reactive protein is a useful indicator for sepsis in burns patients. In combination with clinical sepsis markers, C-reactive protein can be used to initiate intensive monitoring and appropriate antibiotic therapy.


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Original Research Articles