To obtain predictors of organ failure (OF), we studied markers of systemic inflammation [circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R), soluble E-selectin and C-reactive protein, and neutrophil and monocyte CD11b expression] and routine blood cell counts in 20 patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome and positive blood culture. Eight patients with shock due to community-acquired infection developed OF, whereas 11 normotensive patients and one patient with shock did not (NOF group). The first blood sample was collected within 48 h after taking the blood culture (T1). OF patients, as compared with NOF patients, had at T1 a lower monocyte count, a lower platelet count, higher levels of CD11b expression on both neutrophils and monocytes, and higher concentrations of IL-6, IL-8 and sIL-2R. C-reactive protein and soluble E-selectin concentrations did not differ between groups. No parameter alone identified all patients that subsequently developed OF. However, a sepsis-related inflammation severity score (SISS), developed on the basis of the presence or absence of shock and on the levels of markers at T1, identified each patient that developed OF. The maximum SISS value was 7. The range of SISS values in OF patients was 2–5, and that in NOF patients was 0–1. In conclusion, high levels of CD11b expression, depressed platelet and monocyte counts, and high concentrations of IL-6, IL-8 and sIL-2R predict OF in patients with community-acquired septic shock, and the combination of these markers may provide the means to identify sepsis patients who will develop OF.

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