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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biotechnology - Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Immunology - Oncology

Monitoring and Identification of Sepsis Development through a Composite Measure of Heart Rate Variability
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Author: Andrea Bravi et al.

by Andrea Bravi, Geoffrey Green, André Longtin, Andrew J. E. Seely

Tracking the physiological conditions of a patient developing infection is of utmost importance to provide optimal care at an early stage. This work presents a procedure to integrate multiple measures of heart rate variability into a unique measure for the tracking of sepsis development. An early warning system is used to illustrate its potential clinical value. The study involved 17 adults (age median 51 (interquartile range 46–62)) who experienced a period of neutropenia following chemoradiotherapy and bone marrow transplant; 14 developed sepsis, and 3 did not. A comprehensive panel (N?=?92) of variability measures was calculated for 5 min-windows throughout the period of monitoring (12±4 days). Variability measures underwent filtering and two steps of data reduction with the objective of enhancing the information related to the greatest degree of change. The proposed composite measure was capable of tracking the development of sepsis in 12 out of 14 patients. Simulating a real-time monitoring setting, the sum of the energy over the very low frequency range of the composite measure was used to classify the probability of developing sepsis. The composite revealed information about the onset of sepsis about 60 hours (median value) before of sepsis diagnosis. In a real monitoring setting this quicker detection time would be associated to increased efficacy in the treatment of sepsis, therefore highlighting the potential clinical utility of a composite measure of variability.